Early in the year we started to receive many reports of trucks using Somerville Road during curfew hours along with A and B Doubles, both of which are banned on Somerville Road between Geelong Road and Whitehall Street. After some investigation MTAG discovered that a permit had been issued in error for A Doubles on Somerville Road. We raised this with Maribyrnong Council and the Department of Transport along with Melissa Horne, Minister for Ports and Freight. The permit was revoked, however the A and B Doubles kept on coming, along with curfew breakers.
Once again MTAG took the issue up with government and a meeting followed with MTAG, Freight Victoria, MCC, NHVR and advisors from Minister Ben Carroll and Minister Horne’s offices. We have now had three meetings with this group. At the last meeting on 29 April, with both ministers in attendance, 4 initiatives were announced. These were:
- New signage to be installed on Somerville Rd alerting drivers that A and B Doubles are banned on this road. These should be in place by June.
- Traffic Management Cameras to monitor trucks, including curfew breakers. These won’t issue fines but will give the Department of Transport and the NHVR a greater understanding of where the problems lie and enable them to better educate companies and drivers. The cameras will start off on Somerville Rd but will then be moved around to other truck routes in The City of Maribyrnong.
- A definitive guide for truck drivers using roads in the City of Maribyrnong. This will be published online and the VTA and MTAG will help get this information out to industry and community.
- The formation of a new Governance group that will investigate how the future 24/7 truck bans will be monitored and enforced, once the West Gate Tunnel is completed.
We acknowledge these aren’t huge steps forward, but at least they are positive and tangible initiatives. Any step forward is very welcome.