A process of access pre-approvals help with permit processing is slowly improving the access situation for trucking operations. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has been developing a pre-approval process with the managers of many roads. This means the road authority has said to the NHVR, if someone applies to run this class of truck on this route, you don’t need to get our permission again. In fact, the NHVR has a team who’s sole task is to get pre-approvals from road manager, to lock them in to avoid asking the same question over and over, for each permit application.
This process does allow road managers to retain some control over their network. In the past, there was no step between making every vehicle using the road make a permit application and going through the gazetting process for the route, for a particular combination. Now, they can pre-approve, avoiding a permit backlog, but can end that approval if there is any problem with it in the future.
Investigation showed over 200 different conditions were being imposed on operators under their permits. With some negotiation, the NHVR has distilled them down to just 25 across the jurisdictions, to simplify matters and gain better consistency. However, first and last mile issues are still problematic.
“We are working to get as much information as we can out to road managers,” says Roger Garcia, who is leading the Access Connect Project. “We are trying to get everything happening smoother and faster. Industry waiting fifteen days for a permit, that’s not good enough. They need to move and they need to move now. So, for us to hold it up for any amount of time is not good. We are trying to get industry moving in a safe productive way.”