There was some relief for Queensland trucking operators, when the announcement about when Australia’s first regional toll road opens was made by the Queensland Government. The statement about the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) also announced the level of tolls which will be charged to trucks using the new road.
There was some concern, in the lead up to the announcement, that the tolls would be considerably higher than they are in other areas for the many A-double combinations which ply this route from metropolitan Brisbane to the inland areas of the Darling Downs and further West.
The 41km-long TSRC is a $1.6 billion project, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments. It connects the Warrego Highway in the east with the interstate Gore Highway and the Warrego in the west, bypassing Withcott at the foot of the Toowoomba Range and the Toowoomba CBD.
When the road was originally planned the then government wanted to charge a ‘Super Heavy Vehicle’ higher toll for all of the higher productivity vehicles. This would have the tolls set at a much higher level per kilometre than they are in the rst of the country and set a precedent for other toll roads in regional areas.
In fact, the toll for trucks will be $22.85, commensurate with the charging per kilomtre on toll roads around Brisbane. Stakeholders like the Queensland Trucking Association had been strongly arguing for a fair toll on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing over the last several years.
The earlier indications of what a toll might be and in particular the proposed much larger toll for super heavy (multi-combinations) was unacceptable.
Mark Bailey, Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister announced the new Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will be free for three months when it opens in early September.
He also used the announcement to score political points over the opposition Liberal National Party, asserting that they had planned to set the top rate for trucks on the bypass at $34.25.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO, Gary Mahon, said he was pleased with the fair toll price announced for heavy vehicles to use this great piece of infrastructure.
“Dropping the super heavy vehicle toll will encourage the usage of high productivity vehicles on this major freight route connecting regional Queensland to the Port of Brisbane,” said Gary. “Carrying freight using multiple trailers means less truck trips, which increases road freight efficiency and safety.
“This toll price of $22.85 for heavy vehicles will increase productivity and will energise the economy in the south west region across a number of industries including agriculture and mining.”