Truckie slams rest area plans for Second Range Crossing
A TRUCK driver advocate has slammed the design of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing for its perceived lack of resting points.
Rod Hannifey, who regularly drives through the Darling Downs to deliver produce across Australia, said the $1.6 billion project lacked sufficient designated rest areas for road trains and B-Doubles.
On top of his list of complaints was the lack of stopping areas with proper shade, any toilets and enough signage.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport and Main Roads confirmed it would close the two heavy vehicle rest areas on the Warrego Hwy in Charlton as part of the construction, instead building a new decoupling and rest area with toilet facilities nearby.
Mr Hannifey, who has decades of experience on the roads, questioned whether the new rest area was big enough to cater for the dozens of trucks that are likely to use the TSRC every day.
"It's not enough - you've got one over there (at Charlton) but when it says it's a decoupling bay and rest area, does that mean there's going to be a separate rest area or is it just somewhere where you try to fall asleep while five cattle crates come in a hook up another trailer, or blokes with fridge motors?" he said.
"Are you going to sleep there? Of course not.
"It sounds as though they haven't properly consulted (with industry) or haven't properly considered."
The department spokesman said there were plenty of rest areas and stopping bays along the Warrego Hwy to Brisbane.
"There will be no breakdown pad as part of the TSRC at the bottom on the range," he said.
"However, we are currently examining the longer term feasibility of getting heavy vehicles, which normally decouple west of Toowoomba, access closer to the Port of Brisbane.
"At present, heavy vehicles travelling west from Brisbane can rest just east of Gatton at the Lawes service centre and on the Gatton Bypass as well as the existing facility at Charlton and the service centre on the Gore Highway at Umbiram, just west of the TSRC interchange with the Gore Highway."
With a greater emphasis placed on driver safety, including regular breaks and more rest, Mr Hannifey said the task for truckies to refresh was made more difficult by poor design choices.
"If they're looking at a decoupling area closer to Brisbane, then it should include a proper truck rest area for blokes to go to bed," he said.
"The one coming out at Gatton is bigger than we need, but there's no shade there.
"We can't go into town and go to a caravan park or a motel, we can't even legally park in a city that has a system of street lighting for more than an hour.
"They keep complaining about the health of drivers and how the roads impact your body and increase your fatigue, because you're trying to keep it on the road.
"I'm more than happy to give them feedback where you could put that rest area."