SA Outback Road Status - What exactly does 4WD only mean?

Submitted: Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 14:32
ThreadID: 133407 Views:3718 Replies:12 FollowUps:21
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Hi All,
We have 2 families with 4WD+Offroad Campers due to leave this Sunday (11 Sept) for Brisbane > Innamincka > Cameron's Corner > Arkaroola > Flinders.
We have been keeping a close watch on the SA Outback road conditions web site trying to gauge how long things tend to take to close, reopen etc and we are hoping that when we attempt to go to Innamincka (currently targeting next Friday 16th) the roads will be drying out, but for now most of the roads (ie Strzelecki) are marked as 4WD only - Open to 4WD vehicles under 3 tonne only (no towing).
It's the "no towing" thing that I want to get some clarification on. A lot of places (including ExplorOz) simply list "4WD" or "4WD Only". Hoping that someone out there can provide some clarification as to if camper trailers are definitely excluded from "4WD Only" or not. I tried calling some numbers on the SA SPTI web site but could only get recorded messages.
Thanks in advance for any info.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:24

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:24
'Towing' would mean 'towing' wouldn't it?
Also most 4x4's these days are around the 2500km mark, add passengers, your gear and a trailer and suddenly you are well over the magic 3000 kg mark too.
The signs aren't written in legaleze, I think they are clear and although I haven't been able to find a link to the relevant legislation the options are:
4WD Open to 4WD vehicles under 3 tonne only (no towing)
4WD / HV Open to 4WD and Heavy Vehicles
I'd say being over 3000kg and towing, you would come under the 4WD/HV class and have to wait for it to dry a bit more, although many just push on anyway.

But, keep in mind that if you are on a closed road (or a road that is closed to your class of vehicle) and your camper trailer overtakes the tow vehicle, the insurance company may choose to wash their hands of the whole incident.
AnswerID: 604242

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:33

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:33
Also if you get into trouble on a Closed road it may well give a copper a reason to exhibit his writing skills and your insurance company to get out the big NO stamp.
I would think "no towing" is pretty plain to most people
It means leave your trailer of whatever size at home Plain and simple.
The "What part of NO" dont you understand comes to mind here.
4wd only to me means if the wheels on the ground arent on a 4wd vehicle they arent allowed So is a trailer a 4wd NO.
People will ignore notices and then growl the roads and tracks are cut up and rough, I wonder why
We wanted to go down a road that had a Closed sign on it and had been told by local Council it was open. Went back and asked the boss and he said Oh they havent taken the signs down it was open yesterday.
We didnt go anyway.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:38

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:38
In all fairness to the poser, I think they are asking because it isn't clear to them and want to ensure they do the right thing...

The saying there is no such thing as a dumb question comes to mind...

Cheers, Baz, Te Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - 1014 - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 09:12

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 09:12
Gday murphnet
I was up in the Arkaroola region recently and noticed on the big "road open/closed" signs that they have cameras now .... So I'm assuming they can record vehicles entering closed roads etc

Good luck with your trip.
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Reply By: Zippo - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:33

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:33
When we were on the road in Birdsville in late June I actually managed to find a number to call at SA-DPTI to speak to a human. I'll go back through the call log on the mobile and see if I can locate it.
I'm fairly sure though that the SA-DPTI "no towing" trumps anything listed elsewhere, as they are the controlling authority.

Edit: it MAY be 1800 802 074 but no guarantees.

Also in terms of reaching Innamincka, ring the Inna Pub for the latest "on the ground" info. SA Roads, sitting in the comfort of their Adelaide office, base their opening/status decisions on rainfall etc info fed to them by stations, while the pub will have the latest physical info.

As an aside, even when all roads into Innamincka are reopened, expect the Dig Tree access to remain problematic for a bit.
AnswerID: 604243

Follow Up By: Member - RUK42 (QLD) - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:07

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:07
Ring the guys at Cameron Corner too - they are very good.
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:07

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:07
Zippo
They are not "sitting in the comfort of their Adelaide office", they are based in Pt Augusta, have an intimate knowledge of the road network in the far north and are the group directly responsible for the maintenance of these roads using their own work groups.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:17

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:17
My apologies A&J - when I was speaking to them that is where they indicated they were located. I am fully aware that they control/direct the road maintenance crews and we have spent some time talking with the latter on our travels.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:19

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:19
I have had this conversation before and have it in writing that the only people that can open or close roads are DPTI, based in Pt Augusta, locals cannot determine if a road is open or closed but it is in their interest to try and get customers so DPTI do not rely on their information alone.

It is a $1000.00 per wheel fine, if you are towing and you are not meant to be on the road then that equates to a $6000.00 fine, more if a tandem trailer or 6 wheel 4wd and towing.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 16:39

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 16:39
Cookie, in saying "locals cannot determine if a road is open or closed but it is in their interest to try and get customers" are you suggesting the locals would see some commercial benefit from supplying less-than-authentic information to DPTI?

Apart from fuel sales, not much else is changed by roads being open vs closed (as the William Creek pub assured us during last year's week of isolation. For every person/vehicle unable to reach town, there is usually a very similar number "locked in" already, waiting to leave. Accommodation and food/bev sales largely unaffected (as long as supplies hold up) - although Trevor's supply of fresh faces wanting flights would dry up.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 17:59

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 17:59
I have very reliable information from DPTI, that DPTI do not rely on one source of information.

I have also had conversations with some that have or still work in the outback and sometimes locals have specific agendas to have roads opened, getting supplies in, getting cattle out etc etc so they use various sources from local stations, businesses, road crews and Police and build a picture from that.

I think Trevor is in a unique position in that he can fly in / out as required, but I know that roads being closed puts pressure on Phil & Pam @ Mungerannie for example.

In short, unless DPTI open a road, and not the local store, you cannot drive on it without risking out of pocket expenses
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Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:39

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 15:39
Murphet Hi,
If the roads are closed or borderline why risk it. Country people hate their roads being chewed up unnecessarily.
By two families I presume You mean with kids! Could think of nothing worse than getting stuck in a mud hole with a peed off wife and a couple of bored kids for three or more days. Holidays are meant to be enjoyable and plans can be changed to suit the conditions.
My sixpence worth.
Mike.
AnswerID: 604244

Reply By: murphnet - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:22

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 16:22
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. If I was going to risk it I wouldn't have bothered asking for clarification. We are already working out alternative routes but still feel it's worthwhile ensuring we have all the information so that we can make informed decisions when the time comes. Do we reverse our trip now, do we decide next Thursday, when is it to late to change routes etc etc.

As an example at the moment the DPTI site lists "Strzelecki Track - Merty Merty to My Hopeless" as 4WD (Yellow) with notes that read:

The road from Mt Hopeless to Moomba is open to the weight equivalent of a single semi only, with caution at soft sections

I am not 100% certain what they mean by a Single Semi. Is that a Prime Mover/Cab and a Trailer? Or just a Cab? I would presume there's more than 3 tonne there. So a bit ambiguous.

Then their text/pdf version of the reports make no mention of the definitions either.

Anyway, for now we'll cross our fingers and hope that the weather fines up and the roads dry up enough by early next week.

Thanks
AnswerID: 604246

Follow Up By: Dion - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 01:25

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 01:25
A prime mover with one ordinary trailer. No MC - B-double or Road Trains.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 08:40

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 08:40
If the road is open to a Semi then your little 4x4 and trailer would be OK ..as the road dries then Road Trains will travel the road to access the Gas Fields with supplies and fuel etc.

.
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Reply By: 3ways - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:10

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:10
In 2014 we were caught in a single day rain between Merty Merry to Cameron's Corner then held for 4 nights. No Towing was exactly that single vehicle only.
If you do head that way include time in the schedule if roads are closed. If you get through without problems, you have extra time sightseeing.
AnswerID: 604248

Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:21

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 17:21
I wonder how many cars with 4WD would be under 3000 Kg? There wouldn't be many would there?

My guess is that a standard 4WD, not an AWD, with minimal "stuff" and that includes a tool kit, a bit of recovery stuff, some camping food/tent/swag gear, maybe an esky or fridge, a full tank of fuel, a jerrycan of water, and don't forget body to drive and a passenger to keep the driver awake, would be over 3000 Kg.

Seems like the 4DW (less than 3000Kg would not see much traffic other than local "empty" cars. Nothing against the locals okay so don't go down that track. oops a pun.

We joined Phil in the pub and waited. 100 series and three bodies, no camp stuff, two tanks of fuel, a fridge, winch, steel bullbar/rear bar and side steps.

Phil
AnswerID: 604249

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:13

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:13
Medium 4WDs* are around 2000 - 2200 kgs tare. Wagons have a payload of about 700 kg. So I'd say quite a few will come in under 3 t.

* Eg. Colorado, Isuzu.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:43

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:43
Current 200 series landcruser has a GVM of 3.35 tonnes, Troopie 3.3 tonnes, Hilux 3 tonnes, Prado 2.9 tonnes

this is all before GVM upgrades and oveloading.

cheers
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 13:08

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 13:08
As discussed an few times in other threads the term 4wd can mean different things to different people - even the authorities. Remember there was a thread a while back where the WA authorities (I think) produced a list of 4wds and AWDs and they did not include the Amorak on the 4wd list. Now this thread is not the place to discuss this here - do it in the other threads.

So - does the SA authorities actually have a legislated definition of what a 4wd is? To say a road is open to 4wd is essentially meaningless without a definition of what a 4wd is - at its simplest if a vehicle has all four wheels driven then it is a 4wd - at its most advanced you have a 4wd in 4wd with low range, twin lockers etc

I repeat my point is not about what we think a 4wd is but what the authorities think it is with a legislated or regulated definition.

Garry
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Reply By: Genny - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 20:59

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 20:59
Some of this may help.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 22:27

Friday, Sep 09, 2016 at 22:27
Your hyperlink didn't work for me as EO doesn't appear to allow such a long address and chops off the end of the URL.

Try this one: Traffic control signs remote areas
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Member - Ups and Downs - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:31

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:31
6.12 Stock, Native and Ferrel Animals on Roads

One of the items in the link from Motherhen.
Seems the SA government have a new classification of animal.

Paul
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 22:25

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 22:25
The mind boggles Paul :O

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Reply By: Noisy Mango - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:24

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:24
One thing I have always wondered about - is the 3000kg limit tare weight or GVM?
AnswerID: 604268

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:33

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:33
Think about it Its a limit so you weigh the weight on the road. Who would be driving an empty vehicle with no fuel or god forbid no occupants.

It wouldnt be GVM either because that is a stated limit NOT an actual weight.

It would be the Actual loaded weight at the time of weighing.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:47

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 08:47
Hi Murphnet

Apart from your specific question, which appears to have been covered by others, these roads do dry out quickly.

I'm assuming you are going down the Moomba Road from Innamincka towards Arkaroola? This is a major road servicing the oil and gas fields so providing there is no more heavy rain I would still move towards your planned objective and review whilst underway. I have always found that the best approach unless rain is torrential and not looking like it will ease up in the time I plan to be in a certain area...(if that makes sense!)

Are you going into Arkaroola the back way via the North Gammon Ranges and past the talc mine? A very scenic route...

Enjoy your trip, and feel free to email me (email under profile) if you would like any further information, we love that whole Corner Country Area and happy to share our experience.

Cheers, Baz - The landy

AnswerID: 604270

Follow Up By: murphnet - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 09:33

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 09:33
Hi Baz,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes that was pretty much our plan, we also wanted to go to Cameron's Corner on the way down.

However, we have just decided this morning that we will do our trip in reverse. Last night the roads appear to have been closed again, I assume due to the rain overnight Thursday and there is some more forecast for mid to late next week leaving our confidence levels low. By reversing our trip and going to Lightning Ridge>Broken Hill>Wilpena>Arkaroola we've got 2+ weeks to give it a bit more of a chance to change. If it doesn't then it's back to Broken Hill and we'll hope to get to the Corner via Tibooburra and head back to Brisbane via Western Qld.

Unfortunately this means we are doing the "easy" stuff first and leaving the potential variable stuff where we could lose time last, but we've got a couple of days up our sleeves so hopefully (in conflict with your signature) it all works out. Otherwise the kids will miss more school and they will be devastated :-)


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Follow Up By: allein m - Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 12:32

Saturday, Sep 10, 2016 at 12:32
Hi we did cop another wet one two nights ago and many of the road went back to closed . the problem here in Broken Hill is that things change daily so it is best to check on the day you leave .
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:23

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 10:23
FWIW We've done a number of the SA desert tracks when classed as 4WD only in our Forester towing a light CT without any drama. It's slower going (and fuel use goes well up) due to ruts, diversions and ponded water but traction and clearance have almost never been a problem.

The only tricky times were on the Balcanoona to Strez track (so that's the NE access to Arkaroola). One was due to driver error. The other was just south of the Strez junction where the water sits for quite some time after rain. 'Proper' 4WDs were having trouble there and getting through was a matter of technique. And stay on the track; don't try to go round the ponded water.

Good luck with your trip. It's great country out there.
AnswerID: 604287

Follow Up By: Hewy54 - Monday, Sep 12, 2016 at 08:09

Monday, Sep 12, 2016 at 08:09
As long as your combined weight of the car and light CT was under 3 tonnes then you would have been legal.
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 12:09

Sunday, Sep 11, 2016 at 12:09
Rain and dirt roads the variables are many , Friday afternoon we had 2mm in town as the storm passed through , property 5km out of town copped 26mm out of the same storm …..
AnswerID: 604289

Reply By: Hewy54 - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016 at 07:53

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016 at 07:53
When we went to Birdsville for the Big Red Bash there were many road closures and confusion over the levels of closure.
At that stage the yellow category read "4 WD under 3 tonne"
I made enquiries with the authorities in Pt Augusta who control the closures and was told that the weight was the CGM.
The listing on the site has now changed to read "4 WD under 3 tonne (no towing).
It is pretty clear now what that means. NO TOWING
AnswerID: 604354

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