Planning for Oversized Loads

Submitted: Friday, Feb 16, 2018 at 23:15
ThreadID: 136283 Views:4093 Replies:10 FollowUps:19
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Dear All

We are departing Perth in about a week so (crossing Nallabor for 15th time) and I thought it may be useful to discover potential oversized loads travelling on the GE Hwy during our period of travel. The last trip we encountered a serious delay that set us back about 3 hrs. As we are leaving on a Sunday I thought it would be wise to see if similar disruptions were likely.

I conducted a raft of web searches using many different search clauses but found nothing relevant. That surprised me. Oversized loads( the big ones with police escorts) are quite disruptive to normal traffic. So I assumed the info on when and routes would be published.

Advice from those that know how to find this, on a state by state basis, would be appreciated. Actually any info on this would be useful.

Cheers John

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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 07:59

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 07:59
Hi John,
This is going to be your 15th crossing?
Really doubt there is going to be much anyone could tell you, you’ve done it all before.
So any different transport companies, so many escort companies, do they have to ‘talk’ to a controlling authority? (Police, RTA etc)?
Just keep your UHF on channel 40.
Safe trip
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 09:50

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 09:50
Wow, he likes to escape from WA even more than I do, and I try as often as I can.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:44

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:44
Hi Tony

Yes it’s true. 14 one way journeys in a vehicle of some sort. A few more crossings by rail and bus that I don’t count.

1962 - EK Holden towing 6x4 trailer. Return trip. My father driving. Maybe I shouldn’t count this one!
1973 - HT Holden. Return
1974 - Renault 16TS. Return
1975 - Renault 16TS. Return
1981 - Hino 8t truck towing trailer. One Way E to W. Moving house.
2002 - Ford Falcon AU. One Way E to W. Relocating work vehicle.
2015 - Prado towing Van. Return
2016 - Prado towing Van. One Way W to E. Home via GCR.
2017 - Prado towing Van. One Way W to E. Home via Tanami/Kimberly

Always an interesting trip and always different. Didn’t stop to see much in the crossings prior 2000. Just blasted straight through. In the 70’s crossings we were travelling from Tumut NSW to Perth so my wife could see her family over Xmas. Trip took 38 hrs. Only stopped for fuel. Crazy but I was young and more stupid then than I am now.

UHF is always on. Very useful to talk to the truck drivers and let them know what one intends to do when passing or being passed.


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Reply By: mike39 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 08:22

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 08:22
On our last crossing (E-W) which was our 10th. we knew that the weather was deteriorating and by Nullabor was a NW gale with horizontal rain.
The last trailer of any road train coming towards us was a metre over the centre line and the last trailer of a road train overtaking us barely cleared the rear vision mirror.
I could only manage around 75-80 kph, trucks barely slow down.
Assessing it being too dangerous and not worth continuing, it became a lookout for a somewhat sheltered camp spot which we found about 50km. W of Nullabor.
For us, a full day and a night sheltering from that weather event, I would have thought that after your travel experience of 14 crossings a 3 hour delay would be a mere hiccup.
Its an interesting trip across, the less you rush the more you see.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:11

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:11

Thank you.

You are correct. A 3hr delay shouldn’t really matter when one takes into account the length of the drive. However if I can avoid a wide load by taking an alternative route ( not many available after Norseman when heading east) I will do so.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:25

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:25
Actually John, there are some wonderful "alternative routes" all along the way.... but they would delay you much more than 3 hours. lol

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 10:10

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 10:10
Hi John,

The first result of my Google search was WA Main Roads Traffic Escort Services. Scroll down and you will find "Traffic Escort Scheduling" with a phone number 138 486.

A similar website exists for S.A.

These may be a good places to start enquiries.

Incidentally, my search was for "wa sa oversize loads police escort"

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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:03

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:03

Thank you. I had searched the WA and SA Main Roads websites but couldn’t find what I was looking for. Will now try again.

Cheers John
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:29

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:29
An alternative may be to phone one or more of the police stations along the highway. It could be expected that they are advised of the heavy load schedule.

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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:34

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:34

Thanks. Good idea.

I did speak to MRWA today. See further down in the thread for more on this.

Cheers John
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Reply By: RMD - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:36

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:36
The "Nallabor" 14 times already. Is that a typo? On the 15th time the signs may have been changed and read Nullabor
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:49

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 11:49
Spelling is a typo. 14 x is not.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:04

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:04
Correct spelling may have helped the searches.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 19:48

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 19:48
Correct spelling is "Nullarbor" - the word comes directly from "No Tree" in Latin (null arbor).

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: mountainman - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:29

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:29
Geeees spelling nazi brigade out in force
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 10:25

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 10:25
Spelling Nazis are justified in coming out when the first attempt to correct the OP has the wrong spelling too.
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:36

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 14:36
That may help you plan everything to the minute with one problem as long as you don't come upon a flooded rd or accident or wildlife or stock or other slow drivers towing. Following a wide load won't bring on the end of the world it just test patients of some drivers who are in a rush. At least their moving and usually it's at 80 kph plus so chill and enjoy the drive you may get to see things you never noticed before when driving faster or does that bore you to no end the scenery that is.

ps They do have flights these days if your in a hurry to get from A to B
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:08

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:08
Putting the car and van on a flight is a tad expensive. Plus I do enjoy the drive.
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Reply By: new boy - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 17:31

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 17:31
I,ve been over 10 times and never encountered a wide load thats held me up you,ve had 1 in 14 pretty good chances it won,t happen .
What about calling the first obvious East West truck and ask him what he,s encountered up until Northam there are alternative route after that options get less and less
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 20:10

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 20:10
BIL (ex-copper) works as a Main Roads wide load escort (Traffic Warden) - and I've hauled earthmoving equipment up to 132 tonnes gross with a widening float, around W.A., since 1966.

The BIL escorts loads up to several hundred tonnes and up to 8 and 9 metres wide.
He even gets his mugshot on the Main Roads W.A. information booklet, "Sharing the Roads with Oversize Loads"!

I've never heard of a wide load holding up traffic for an extended period - unless it has come to grief (lost its load, had an accident, had a mechanical failure, or the driver has had a "medical episode").

And yes, I've had my fully loaded 132 tonne, 4.5M wide float come to a complete stop, because a dill of a woman lost control of her vehicle when overtaking it - ran into the prime mover (doing serious damage to it), and rolling her car and caravan in the process!

That most certainly did close the (Gt Eastern) highway for several hours, until the wreckage was cleared.

If traffic is going to be adversely affected by a wide load movement, then Main Roads W.A. will put out a traffic advisory, which is widely disseminated.

About the only reasons for wide load, minor traffic disruption, is when power lines have to be lifted, for seriously overheight equipment - or when bridges have to be crossed by the oversize rig.

When a bridge has to be crossed with an exceptionally heavy rig, the bridge must not be occupied by any other vehicles, and the oversize rig is limited to a speed of 10kmh.

This is to protect the bridge structure and pylons, as the bridge is often near its engineered load limit.
This disruption is only minor and rarely involves any more than a 20 min wait.

In the case of oversize loads that are too heavy for bridges, the oversize rig is detoured via a ground route that avoids bridges.

You are more likely to encounter a delay on the Nullarbor due to some tourist rolling their car and caravan and blocking the highway - or incurring serious injury in a traffic accident, that results in an RFDS aircraft being called in - whereby the Eyre Highway is closed, while the RFDS aircraft lands on the highway and takes off again.

There are about 4 places along the Eyre Hwy that are dedicated temporary airstrips, for landing aircraft on the highway.

Any major accident on the highway - particularly one involving road trains - can see the highway closed for up to 8 or 10 hours until specialist lifting equipment can be brought in to clear the wreckage.

Enjoy your trip, and don't get uptight about any delays, it's just all part of long-distance travel.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:30

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 21:30
A wide load is not a drama. We deal with them a lot when driving in WA especially in the Pilbara.

I just had a thought that wide load planned journey information may be published by authorities so why not have a look and see what one may be dealing with, that’s all.

I sent an email to Main Roads WA and asked them if such info was available. Today, Saturday, they rang me. I was flabbergasted that they called. Very pleasant young lady tolerant of an old farts meanderings. This is what I learned.

Such info is not publicly available for WA via any Web search. The info changes rapidly and is pretty much out of date within hours due cancellations and reroutes.

Planned wide load journeys for weekends are issued on Fridays. MRWA will email the list to you if requested. Be aware that the list may be out of date by the time you receive it.

Here is pertinent part of email from MRWA.
“For more information, please contact our Heavy Vehicles Service Helpdesk on 138 486 (138 HVO)”

Sometimes getting from A to B in a planned timeframe is important in the total travel plan. Understanding what has a potential to disrupt your plans is really just risk management. Weather, road works, road conditions, terrain, traffic etc etc. I do my homework as best as possible before I leave and update as regularly as possible. Hence what about the wide loads, well passing them can be a PITA.

Cheers John

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Reply By: rocco2010 - Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 20:35

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018 at 20:35
have you checked the Travel Map I linked to last week?

There are roadworks in a few places around Kal and east of Norseman.

And if Cyclone Kelvin does what the forecasters predict it might be wet out there early in the week.

Enjoy the trip.


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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 21:23

Sunday, Feb 18, 2018 at 21:23
It most certainly is looking like the Nullarbor and W.A. Goldfields will be experiencing varying amounts of rain - some heavy - between tomorrow (Mon 19/02) through to Thursday (22/02).

Balladonia 7 day forecast -

Eucla 7 day forecast -

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 01:36

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 01:36
Hi Ron

Thanks for the weather links.

I have been keeping an eye on the weather via MetEye.

We are leaving Perth on Sunday 25th so I am hoping any local flooding will have dissipated in the event of heavy local rain. Hopefully no road closures. Have a Ferry to catch to Tasmania on 10th March so have a bit of time up our sleeve for unplanned delays.

Also keeping an eye on the wind direction and speed. Not much I can do about it but I remain hopeful that they are not strong easterlies.

It may be another green grass crossing of the Nullarbor. They have had some rain in the last month. Possibly dead roo carnage as was the case in 2016. I don’t think we saw a live one but the road was littered with dead ones so it was more a case of dodging the Wedge Tails.

Cheers John
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 16:57

Monday, Feb 19, 2018 at 16:57
It looks like Cyclone Kelvin isn't going to pose too much of a problem, it isn't going to bring flooding rains to the Interior or the Eucla.

The Bureau has already cut back on the previously forecasted amounts of rain across the Nullarbor, from "up to" 45mm for Balladonia, back to 15mm now.

There's already been some reasonably modest rains right through the W.A. Goldfields and Norseman and Esperance (up to 50mm) - but by the time you leave, there will be little concern about rain.

You may even get lucky and get a tailwind across the Long Paddock!
This time of year, you're generally battling strong Easterlies and using a lot more fuel than anticipated!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 00:03

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 00:03
Hi Ron

Thank you. It does look as if the majority of the rain will have passed by the time we get to the potentially effected areas.

Unfortunately MetEye is showing easterlies for Sun through Tues so will either be a slower trip or more fuel or both depending on wind strength. Head winds aren’t too bad with the Kimberley tucked in behind the Prado. About 45 degrees on the nose seems to have the biggest adverse effect.

One can’t do much about the weather except make you best plans on the info available and then revise the plans at the time.

Cheers John
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 12:08

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018 at 12:08
In all my time of travel and commutes, I have never heard of anywhere to get specific information on oversize over dimension loads.

Its painful for the long haul drivers why they generally keep it flat at nighttime - majority of oversize loads not permitted to travel at night.

Main Roads WA will issue a permit with a specific route permitted, if you have another load oncoming it case of sort it out as it presents itself.

Those 150 series prado with red & blue lights as used in WA are NOT police they are Main roads contarctor/employees.

3 hr delay isn't much on scheme of things doubt many people in WA know a bitumen pcoket train rolled its 2nd trailer blocking the Gt northern hwy for 18+ hours yesterday morning - and they still cleaning up to best of my knowledge
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 00:50

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 at 00:50
Incidentally, there is an obligation on the truck driver, when a vehicle is oversize, for it to pull over (where safe), on a regular basis, to let banked-up traffic behind, overtake.

One of the more interesting experiences I've had, was coming West on the Eyre Hwy in Western S.A about 1998, hauling a 3.5M wide load (no escort needed up to this width) - and coming around a sharpish curve in heavy roadside vegetation - only to have a wide-load escort suddenly appear from out of nowhere, and flash by me at 90kmh!!

I grabbed the radio and only just got out, "how wide are you?" - and the answer came back, "5.2M!" - as the other wide load and I passed, and we just managed to squeeze past each other, with little to spare, with a combined speed of 180kmh!

Naturally, I gave the escort an earful over travelling too close to his load in an area of restricted vision ahead - but it was ignored.
That whole exercise was a bit of a shock, and if there had been overhanging tree limbs alongside the road, it could have been pretty dicey.

Fortunately, today, the routes used by oversize loads have been widened well, and many roadside trees pruned, to ensure oversize movement without hangups.

Cheers, Ron.
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