Oct 28, 2010

Better rest areas and safer roads for Victorian truck drivers

Better rest areas and safer roads for Victorian truck drivers

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

October 28 2010

Over the coming months six rest areas along the Hume Freeway will be rebuilt and seven bridges within the Green Triangle made strong enough to carry bigger, heavier vehicles.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the projects will be funded as part of the second and final round of the Gillard Labor Government’s $70 million Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

“The bridge strengthening projects will cut time and distance off the journeys of many truck drivers and the upgraded rest areas will provide safe, modern places at which they can take a break or catch up on their sleep,” said Mr Albanese.

“Since coming to office, we’ve been working with the trucking industry, as well as the states and territories, to address the lack of roadside facilities and open up more of the nation’s road network to trucks – actions which will make the industry safer and more productive.

“In the years ahead, drivers will also benefit from the unprecedented investment we’re making in the nation’s highways as well as the 2013 introduction of one set of nationwide heavy vehicle laws.”

The $8.19 million in Federal funding for the projects within the Green Triangle and along the Hume Freeway supplement the $11 million already committed by the Brumby Labor Government.

Victorian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said the Green Triangle region in the State’s south-west had national economic significance, with large quantities of freight transiting through it, including valuable exports destine for the Port of Portland.

“The jointly funded package of works announced today will fix a number of costly and frustrating inadequacies in the region’s road network, reducing costs for trucking operators and improving travel times for their drivers,” said Pallas.

“What’s more, by working with the Gillard Labor Government we are providing truck drivers with more opportunities to get the rest they need, which in turn will make our roads safer for all users.”

In conjunction with today’s announcement, VicRoads released the Victorian Rest Area Strategy, which seeks to reduce fatigue-related incidents on our roads by taking a holistic approach to the construction and location of rest stop areas across Victoria.

The strategy doesn’t solely rely on creating new rest stops, but looks strategically at improving existing rest stops, promoting in-town facilities, addressing drivers’ needs and encouraging drivers to plan their rest stops before setting out.

Further information about the rest area strategy can be obtained from the VicRoads website: www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/restareastrategy.

Nationwide, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program has so far built 34 new and rebuilt 59 existing rest stops. It has also funded 15 bridge strengthening projects and 14 warning sign projects.