How big is too big?

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 19, 2012 at 23:50
ThreadID: 96977 Views:4875 Replies:11 FollowUps:25
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As a regular user of the Great Northern Highway I'm finding that I just can't make the Troopie narrow enough these days. I propose a double lane going North to give all the truckies a hand.
Oh yeah, get on channel going south to prepare for what's coming up the road!
Pic shows an 8 metre load. Sorry about the focus but you get the idea.
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 06:39

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 06:39
Just drive up there in a convertable and you will have no worries. lol. Bob.
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Reply By: Bigfish - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 07:45

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 07:45
Answers obvious. Off road bike with sidecar and trailer!
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:12

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:12
I sooo agree with this.

If not a double lane going north how about more clearing on the side to allow everyone to pull over easier. Especially through places like the bindi bindi's.

Some very impressive equipment going north these days and lots of it.




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Reply By: firm351 - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:26

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:26
Last trip from Perth to Mt Magnet(600 km) took me 8.5hrs. It was one wide load after another all the way from Midland.Good thing i was getting paid for the drive.

Paul
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:55

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:55
And for any Road Pilots reading this:

it's time you started broadcasting load widths to caravans instead of ignoring us.

Do you think a crash with a van is going to be any less detrimental to your task than with a truck?

At the very least, just broadcast the info every few minutes or so.

I've asked a couple of them why they don't broadcast to vans and their reply is: we don't get an answer.

Well boo hoo. Get over it. Do you want an answer or an accident?





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Follow Up By: bob&loz - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:20

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:20
It also doesnt help when they travel at 70/80 k and the pilot is only 50 metres in front of the load. Makes for either a sudden swerve or a hit. Had one come around a corner like that and had about 10 seconds from pilot coming into view to load passing me
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Follow Up By: teza - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 17:24

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 17:24
Hi Bob
Could not agree more. Any of my front pilots that are not 1.5 to 2 ks in front of the load, especially with all the rain we have had in QLD would be looking for a new job.

We call our loads to ALL oncoming vehicles especially caravans. After all they are the same width as a truck but usually with less experience behind the wheel.

Cheers Teza
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 02:16

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 02:16
Hullo Teza,

In the last two years I have done two full laps of the country and one trip from Perth to Kalbarri return. We are presently in Broken Hill heading to QLD again.

Here are my observations regarding info from wide load pilots:

In QLD, a large number of pilots "blind" broadcast, ie, they transmit the info every 5 minutes or so regardless of who is around. That is, in my opinion, probably the best thing to do. But there were still a lot of occasions there, and every where else where I had to call them up and ask for the width, on most occasions AFTER the pilot vehicle has passed me.

I'm still doing that on the Barrier Highway and the Eyre Highway over the past week.

I have to say that the worst place for lack of broadcasts is the Grt Northern Highway in my own State.



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Reply By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 11:57

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 11:57
G'day Cash

Good day everyone else, there is no doubt the average road user on the Great Northern Highway, is being put at risk because of todays heavy haulage loads and the under engineered/constructed roadsurfaces.

The damage to roadside signage and bridge infrastructure is quite substantial and guess who is forced to pay the repair bills ~ yes the tax payer ~ not the mining industry.

I am not saying the heavy haulage drivers are doing the wrong thing, as they are simply doing thier job ~ but it all gets quite risky at times for everyone when you are asked, directed or simply forced off the tar because there is a huge load coming towards you taking up the entire width of the road surface and in places there is next to no safe road side shoulder to pull up onto.

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There are some seriously damaged sections of road surface edges and at times it is quite "heart in the mouth" stuff when you have to get get off the tar and you are towing a caravan.

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I had the misfortune of following a couple of heavies, heading south past Newman, just the other day, although the loads were not overly wide (no Police escort) they were one behind the other and there was zero chance of overtaking this mobile road block safely, but believe me some fresh faced kids employed in the mining industry gave it a go, only to become "red faced" because they ran out of road.

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The Great Northern Highway (WA) can be a decidedly dangerous pace to travel on at the best of times, but since mining has burgeoned and their growth demands have to be met, there will only be more ~ much more ~ heavy haulage loads on this road.

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 14:15

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 14:15
Hi Joe,

That is one of my biggest fears - nowhere to get off the road before the load comes, and nowhere to get off for miles even it we turned around and went back.
John 'n' Min

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 14:27

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 14:27
"The damage to roadside signage and bridge infrastructure is quite substantial and guess who is forced to pay the repair bills ~ yes the tax payer ~ not the mining industry."

Hi

Just a thought..but dont mining companies pay tax as well?...plus all the workers who get paid by the mining companies also pay tax. Many of the roads would not be as good as they are if it wasnt for the mining companies in the first place. Sharing the road with other legitimate road users is just something people will have to deal with I figure.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:33

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:33
Just imagine the amount rego/road tax that would be paid to get that multi wheel one with the engine on the back. Bloody heaps.
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 16:10

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 16:10
If it was in QLD then they have to have a Main Roads escort as well as a Road Movement Permit complete with a $$ Bond so that if they damage the road including the road signage etc then they pay for the repairs.

Cheers Kev


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Follow Up By: Fiona & Paul - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 17:05

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 17:05
Got to agree with you Cash - the 'rambo' escorts need a bit of a nudge.

That may well be the case Kev, but, if the escort vehicle is only running a couple of hundred metres in front of the load, there is little time to take evasive action. The escorts themselves need to get their act together big time.

We had a couple of close encounters during our last trip up north, the prior warning on the VHF was 30 seconds ahead of the big load arrival and that is never good enough.

We often pick a good place and wait 5-10 mins when we hear a broadcast early enough.
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Follow Up By: River Swaggie - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 21:30

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 21:30
Crikeys they carry some Big Units...
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 23:50

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 23:50
G'day everyone

I understand the negative side of my part of the reply to "Cash's" post about heavy haulage along the Great Northern Highway from Perth to the Pilbara, primarily into the present day mining region.

I stated that when there is infrastructure damage along the highway, the mining industry should be accountable for the damage caused.
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I should have been more specific and said "The mining company" who's equipment is road freighted on the under engineered roads and bridges should be made to pay for the cost of repairs to the damage public infrastructure.
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Yes, the mining industry pays its way to a degree in the minimal form of taxes and it does input multi-millions of dollars of revenue into both Federal and State Government coffers and "so they should".

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Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 00:16

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 00:16
"should be made to pay for the cost of repairs to the damage public infrastructure"

Hi

Would have thought this would be the case anyway? Isnt it? Or are are you saying they are not required to pay?

Excuse my ignorance but would have thought any damage done would need to be paid for by the companies involved...but maybe not?

Either way the "minimal form of taxes" amounting to "multi-millions of dollars" would be more than enough to pay for the damage done ..so not sure any significant issue relating to infrastructure damage caused by mine related road haulage actuallly exists ..but I could be wrong. Cyclones do more damage - when was the last time God paid tax or was held accountable :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 13:47

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 13:47
G'day The Explorer

The taxes we pay along with the mining industry are not put towards specific things, all government revenue ends up in the consolidated account.

I can only guess once the bean counters have sorted the dollars out for things like new roads and sporting arenas, museums, underground traffic and rail tunnels, Bell Towers and the like, in the city and metro areas of any given capital city, there is next to "Jacksh*t" left for the regions and the regional roads.

The Newman to Marble Bar road (the original Great Northern Highway) is a prime example.

Remember this, there are three of the newest, largest, weathiest mining operations situated off this road, these industries use the road day and night for their road transport needs, the now infamous road claimed another life, last weekend.

The present day Great Northern Highway is so neglected and in places down right dangerous, yet they allow massive loads on the road and the average road user better just look out, because the mining industry is coming through.

Just a little something to think about ~ all the major mining companies have huge shipping ports and rail net works, all the mining industries import their heavy equipment into WA by sea, to Fremantle Port, then they road transport the equipment into the Pilbara by road ?

Maybe I am over simplifying this scenario.

As for cyclones and the damage they cause, the big one may be coming, but usually in the North West of WA, there is little infrastructure damage.

As for the GOD bit I just won't go there!!!!!!!!!!!

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 12:08

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 12:08
Two things Joe.

Firstly by posting those photos are you actually claiming that the mining companies did it?

Secondly how else are they to get their kit up there? Plane - nope, Train - nope as the rail networks are not necessarily connected to Perth and if they are they may not be allowed or approved to carry such bulky and wide loads.

Sea - Yep they have ports but maybe they do not have either the correct infrastructure/licence/approval to unload such heavy and bulky equipment. You cannot put it on a conveyor belt.

I wish my state over here in the east had even a tiny bit of the huge weatth that WA. A wealth that can provide enormouse facilities and services for WA that we only dream of. Half their bloody luck.
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 15:22

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 15:22
G'day PJR

I am not claiming "the mining companies did it" ~ I am stating the bleeding obvious !!

The heavy equipment being dragged up into the Pilbara by road is predominantly destined to a mine site oddly enough owned by "A mining Company"

The roadside infrastructure damage is not caused by ~ Nan and Pop towing their caravan or anyone else outside the heavy haulage industry carrying mining equipment for a mining company.

The Port facilities the mining companies own and operate are specifically Ore handeling ports, but beleive me there are some massive structures shipped into the Pilbara from the Phillipines and possibly even China.Image Could Not Be Found

As for the rail net works from port to mine site(s) ~ these are all owned by the mining companies who had them built for their mining operations, they are amongst the longest and heaviest rail net works in the World ~ privately owned.

I too wish your state had everything you think is so good about the mining industry in the West, but there is a whole lot more that is BAD and you need to have that as well. Image Could Not Be Found
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:12

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:12
Joe; Three issues.

Firstl; False accusations:
You say: Quote "I am not claiming "the mining companies did it" ~ I am stating the bleeding obvious !!" end quote. What's the difference. You are making a very strong factless and proofless accusation. Did you see them do it. Did you stop and compare marks or scratches. Nope. If you had you would have said that you saw the hard evidence.

You would make a good politician or union boss. Not an ounce of strong, hard or solid fact or evidence unambiguosly linking the damages that you present as evidence to any of the vehicles that you also present as evidence.

From what I can see those damages could have been done by a road train or even a speeding ute full of drunken hoons. Be fair mate. Even days before you came along.

Second; Trains limitations for loads:
I think that if you really went into it, the trains could not and would not carry the stuff from port. It is too heavy, too high and too wide. They would not be allowed to. I do not care who owns the port. That is totally irrelevant. Thus they have to use the roads.

Third; State resources:
You totally missed the point about it all being in WA. You are welcome to read my words again and figure that one out.

Summary:
I will admit that it is likely that they did do the damege that you photographed. But I would not state it as a fact as your choice of words are doing.

Just get a life and leave them to the road when they come along.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:34

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:34
Hi

Just thinking...the transport of all this equipment is carried out by contractors ...not the mining company themselves. The contractor would be responsible for any excess damage to road infrastructure they cause...not anyone else. Well thats my guess.

Whats the story with the picture of the dead cattle ? Did it die of boredom waiting to cross the road while one of those road trains wenty past at 5 km/hr :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 19:55

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 19:55
Hi Greg

Very true and that supports what I said. Previous posts have been even accusing the wrong parties.

I would also expect the contract or agreement to include "you break it - you fix it" clauses or conditions.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 09:48

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 09:48
The dead beast looks very much like a "cleanskin" bull to me. They've got more attitude than 20 Gold Coast teenagers during schoolies week.

The "push 'n pull" probably thought the truck would go around him!!!

Plenty of wide loads coming through western Qld too, though probably not with the frequency of WA. As Sir Kev said, any extra wide ones have plenty of escorts, police included, and lead escort is usually at least 2-3 km ahead. They often give advice to oncoming traffic on where to park, which I reckon is quite courteous.

I'll stand corrected but any wide load under 3.2M doesn't need an escort. These are the blokes that you often see at night time, just making a mile.

Bob.

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 09:56

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 09:56
I don't know about all you lot but it is actually good to see this going on. It means Australia is going somewhere. Sure it's an inconvenience but so is building a new footy field. It's better than these companies going under and derstroying the stockmarket and our super and pension funds. I don't mind it.
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Follow Up By: Andrew & Jen - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 12:31

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 12:31
PJR
I think most comments in this thread have focused on the how it is being done, rather than the fact that it is happening.
IMO [as a former regional manager of a state main road network] and based on what people here have reported, current practices would seem to be far below "best practice" and leave a lot to be desired.
Cheers
Andrew
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Reply By: Member - Rowdy6032 (WA) - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 13:43

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 13:43
Hi

Have just come back from the Pilbara towing a small van.

I have the utmost respect for the majority of truckies but there are some cowboys out there. With the number of trucks there are bound to be a few.

Twice forced to take evasive action when trucks passed when clearly unsafe to do so. It was absolutely clear that they would not be able to pass in time and must have been relying on me to back off.

One large truck coming towards me drifted on the wrong side of the road until he was almost completely in my lane. I flashed the lights and had the horn going, luckily he swerved back to his side before any damage was done.

Saw one car damaged in the bush, ambo etc. There was a large load and police escort present. Suspect he clipped the wide load or lost it in the gravel.

Stopped at truck bay to inflate tyres after coming off Hillside-Woodstock Rd. The wife had a walk to stretch her legs and noticed numerous foil pill packets laying on ground.

Be careful out there.
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Reply By: Janos K - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:24

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 15:24
Sorry about that guys, That was my new pool being delivered. If you look closley im in the back .
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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 01:51

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 01:51
I read the other day that there are 1000 loads a month booked out for 18mths with the police escorts. Not going to get any better heading north of Perth for a while.
When there is a police escort it is time to hit the brakes. Don't wait until you hear or see how wide it is. Generally means not much road left.

Neil
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 12:56

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 12:56
G'day everyone

I have just read this article in the North West Telegraph (news paper)

Quote ~ Traffic delays ahead on highways as police escorts for big loads double.

As senior policeman has warned that the number of big trucks carrying mining equipment to the Pilbara will cause long delays on WA's highways in the foreseable future as figures show police escorts for oversize loads more than doubled.

Traffic laws require police to escort trucks carrying loads more than 5.5m wide or more than 40m long.

The job is performed by unsworn traffic escort branch staff, who have limited powers to direct traffic.

Assistant Commissioner Gary Budge said the number of escorts had doubled this year to to more than 200 a month. Those figures do not include big trucks that do not require a police escort, which could amount to hundreds more trucks each month.

Modelling from trucking companies suggests the transport of big loads will continue for many more years, with some companies booked more than 18 months in advance.

Mr Budge spoke of his concerns for motorists' safety as the school holidays started and the annual northern pilgrimage of grey nomads got into full swing.

Earlier this month, emergency service crews cleaned up a fuel spill after a tanker clipped an oversize load on the Great Northern Highway about 45km from Paynes Find "The movement of normal traffic on these roads is now and is going to be disrupted in the furure" Mr Budge said.

People have to plan for this and be patient because these loads can't just pull off the road anywhere to let vehicles past."

Mr Budge said it was difficult to advise motorists o disruptions because thry were so frequent they should be regarded as a normal part of traffic movement north of Perth.

He said motorists should allow an extra two hours per trip.

The traffic escort unit had recently increased from nine staff to 15, and may soon be increased by another 10.

~ End of quote. The news article was reported by Luke Eliot and printed on July 18 2012.


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This minor traffic delay occured south of Mount Mangnet on the Great Northern Highway, in May 2012.

Safe travels :
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 12:46

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 12:46
Coming home a couple of weeks ago down the Grt Northern Highway (between Paynes Find / Wubin)............I was confronted with a police escort and behind them two 8 meter loads painted believe it or not almost a camouflage bluey / green colour and a good 10 mins after the legal sunset time !

I very nearly got in a tight spot simply because the colour of the load was making it almost impossible to see its actual width until it was on you....and it was only almost too late before I realised what I was confronted with

To make it worse they were all quite close together and the blue police light was merged in the background into the colour of the load and so all I saw until at the last moment was the red of the police escort and then only recognised that indeed it was a police escort ........as it was then alongside me.......and therefore I quickly started to allow for something much bigger than normal......but with little time to do so simply because they were bunched up tight.

No warning from the police car or the escorts..I was only towing a larger off road 'van....and anyone with half a brain would have taken their escort duties seriously and realised that they were an issue at that time of night

Far enough they obviously got their travel times wrong and had no choice but to continue to their designated stopover for the night ....there was one another 10 mins up the road in their direction of travel....

BUT what really P***ed me off was that I called them and explained their situation and guess what ..the truckie appreciated my comments (yes I did it nicely and was constructive pointing out the escort lights/ camouflage issue)...but the police escort??........was not polite back to me at all

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:09

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 16:09
In Wa is there 1 or 2 police escorts for these loads?

In QLD there is 1 escort vehicle up to 1km in front then 1 police car to force vehicles off the road then another police vehicle just in front of the load to ensure the oncomming vehicles have stayed off the road. If more than 1 load there is another police vehicle inbetween the loads as well as a pilot vehicle.

Cheers Kev

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Follow Up By: Member - Vince B (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 21:32

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 21:32
Hi Sir Kev.

Last week we met 2 such escorts between Theodore & Miles.There was only 1 police escort but at least they did a good job in stopping oncoming traffic.

The major problem was the wide loads with no escorts

Cheers Vince.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cash (WA) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 22:00

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 22:00
Thanks to all members who replied, responded and viewed thread 96977 over the last two days. It is obvious from all that contact that we have a consensus that the magnitude and regularity of oversize loads in a concentrated location can be dangerous to the regular road user, and in particular, those who tow campers and caravans.

Main Roads WA provide many updated warnings on their web site @ www.mainroads.wa.gov.au but none have a particular reference to oversize loads? Given that each oversize load requires a registered permit, it would seem practical and not difficult for them to add an advice to their web site stating the frequency of oversized loads on any particular day on a particular road within a specific region.

I suggest that we all bring this topic to the attention of the Honourable Troy Buswell, Treasurer; Minister for Transport and Emergency Services by emailing your thoughts and pictures to him at Minister.Buswell@dpc.wa.gov.au

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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 22:42

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 22:42
You know what EDUCATION would help.
Have a uhf and listen to the bloody thing if your driving on these roads that wide loads frequently traverse on. Know the range your UHF works.
If you hear words that contain measurements and fog line that usually means something is coming. Police escort prey there is a safe place to pull off. Thats what I do while towing our van.
Couple months ago I was coming back from Theodore to Miles. For those that have been through the boggy area near Giligulgul you will know what I mean. Anyhow I heard the words if there's any big ones Wandoan side of the slops you will need to pull over were coming down the hill. Lucky I was listening, I said there is a caravan in the middle. So they held the truck up a little bit, the escort knew the road conditions at the time and advised me of a side road coming up, few moments later the truck driver mentioned she was lucky. We all need to take care of each other and make it easy to be informed. We all play a part.

Sharon
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Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 22:43

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 22:43
Cash, in response to your email about information on size of loads to go on the net, my brother in laws father is the the guy that signs off on all the permits in WA for main roads. I will be catching up with this fellow on Tuesday so will give him details of your request. He is a reasonable guy, and sure that he will see benefit for us all.

BW.
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