This load seems to have been called the VicRoads Superload for some reason. The reason being the Victorian road authority supervised the massive move from Gippsland through several Melbourne suburbs to the Port of Melbourne and a waiting ship. The actual operator doing the job was Lampsons.
AGL Power in Gippsland needed to tranport a power generator to Port Melbourne so it could be shipped to Germany for repairs. Heavy haulage was the only option. From February 1 until the early hours of February 4, starting at it’s base in Gippsland, the 108 metre convoy slowly made it’s way to Port Melbourne. Traveling at 20 km per hour, the Melbourne suburban section was undertaken at night to minimise traffic disruption.
Here is the load starting out on its long haul across from there Latrobe Valley to the outskirts of Melbourne:
VicRoads came up with a professionally mad highlights package:
The load brought out the crowds to watch this spectacular move. There is something fascinating about the sheer size and weight being moved. The locals cheered and clapped when the whole combination made it through a difficult junction. A much friendlier reception than trucks often get in other Melbourne suburbs. The public can understand the need to move a monster load, but don’t understand the need to restock supermarkets, export goods and build infrastructure using trucks.
A pilot fitting regime may see turntables leading the way to reform and could become the basis for a new national modifications scheme. Modification code of practice Vehicle Standards Bulletin 6, or VSB6, has been undergoing a comprehensive review to bring it in line with current methodology and technology.
VSB6 is prescribed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) as the primary standard used by Approved Vehicle Examiners (AVEs) to approve modifications to heavy vehicles. This takes precedence unless the vehicle manufacturer provides adequate instructions, in which case the manufacturer’s instructions are paramount.
Since January 2016, VSB6 has been undergoing a comprehensive review to bring it in line with current methodology and technology, one of many projects the NHVR has been asked to undertake in the last few years. From the NHVR’s point of view, two documents are at the core of ensuring vehicles on the road are fit for purpose. The first is the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM), which came out last year, and the second is an amended VSB6.
In 2014, when the new National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL) kicked in, the NHVR took over responsibility for regulating heavy-vehicle modifications. The three-tier system encompasses minor modifications, like the fitting of accessories to the truck or trailer, which do not require certification.
The second group, ‘Section 86’ modifications, covers standardised modifications which can be approved by the AVE network, this means the mod must be described in a code of practice like VSB6 and simply has to passed by the AVE. ‘Section 87’ is the system which picks up the rest of the many types of mods done in the industry, anything outside either of the other two classifications.
When it comes down to the specification area, covering the fitting of a turntable or any kind of coupling to a truck or trailer, there are, in fact, not many changes in VSB6. A few items have been clarified and explanations simplified but, in terms of the fitting process, very little has changed. The NHVR has used feedback from some of the turntable manufacturers to amend some procedures to reflect current practice.
At the same time, a pilot program being run by VicRoads in Victoria, specifically concerned with the certification of the fitting turntables, is likely to have an profound influence on the way all modifications are checked and certified in a future national scheme.
Victorian Pilot Scheme
In Victoria, the demand for AVEs able to sign off on the fitting of a turntable was seen to be an issue. To get a turntable certified, it has to be in a dealership and the AVE signatory needs to attend. This worked okay in metro areas, but there were major issues outside of big cities. These limitations led to unnecessary periods of vehicle downtime.
The authority deemed the details of the method of fifth-wheel fitting made it quite amenable to a new process, one similar to many other modifications. There are a high number of very standardised fitments. Fitting a fifth wheel from a manufacturer will be almost the same, no matter what vehicle it is fitted to and no matter who does the job, there are only seven fifth-wheel original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) operating on a national scale.
“These turntable OEMs are large organisations with safety structures, which allows us to treat the organisation as the individual signatory,” explains Drew Stevenson, VicRoads Senior Technical Adviser, who is overseeing the project. “What that means is we can depend on the organisation, to have a proper trainee management plan, to ensure their fitters are signing off on their element of the work, to ensure they are compliant with fitment guidelines and they have taken all of the data from the final vehicle inspection and it has been reviewed by the organisation before it is committed to paper.
“We have the ability to depend on the quality system and their access to data. We can make sure the fitment is robust and safe, data has been passed on to the fitter and that the fitter has confirmed that the fitting has been done in accordance with that plan. We can also ensure their internal auditing will be visiting that on a regular basis.
“With existing signatories, we depend on their competence and knowledge and their ability to ensure the fitting complies with our requirements and to keep all of that data in a formalised way. With an organisation it is very much the same thing. The necessary skills can be trained in by the organisation. Application engineers typically have access to more data and are dealing with a routine type of task, where they are dealing with very similar vehicles on a routine basis.”
These larger organisations are also deemed to be big enough to have personnel who are not engaged in the fitments, but who can carry out an auditing function within the organisation. What VicRoads is looking for is to be able to audit these signatories on a more regular basis. Currently they are audited on a three-month basis. VicRoads is going into the organisation and validating their internal audit, ensuring they are taking place. It is also going through the individual records for each of these tasks on a sample basis, ensuring they have been applying the appropriate rules.
This week in Diesel News, it’s all happening. Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory.
Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) CEO, Brett Wright, has announced his impending retirement from his current role.
“It is with many great memories, fondness and pride that I announce my leaving HVIA,” said Wright. “I have been privileged, firstly to have been given the opportunity to work for the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) all those years ago and then to continue to lead it over the last twenty years culminating in its transformation into a truly national industry body, HVIA, in 2015.”
Wright began his career at the predecessor to the HVIA, the CVIAQ, in 1996 and took over the role of CEO shortly after. During his tenure, the organisation has been instrumental in advocating for the heavy-vehicle industry on many major issues and most notably through the transition to Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)under the auspices of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
Wright has represented the industry on numerous peak regulatory committees and working groups on issues ranging from Australian Design Rules (ADRs), Performance Based Standards (PBS), Vehicle Modification to Workforce Development programs and National Training Package development.
Increased Access for Long Vehicles
VicRoads has announced access for Level 2 PBS-approved High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) up to 30 metres in length carrying cubic/volumetric freight will be improved significantly across Victoria’s road network.
Operators with combinations up to 30.0 metres in length and 68.5 tonnes (no heavier than a conventional B-double) can access a significant portion of the arterial road network under an annual permit provided they comply with the PBS Level 2 standards.
According to Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO, the federal and state governments should improve safety on major infrastructure projects by making TruckSafe accreditation a mandatory part of construction contracts. The statement followed an event where Maguire joined Chief Inspector Phil Brooks, as NSW Police and RMS officers inspected construction trucks working on the WestConnex project in Sydney.
“It was impressive to see first-hand how the NSW Police delivered such a professional intervention to raise the standards on our roads,” said Maguire. “But they shouldn’t have had to do the inspections at all. The professional, safe trucking businesses that join ATA member associations like Road Freight NSW and our safety management scheme, TruckSafe, are sick and tired of hearing reports about the small minority of unsafe trucks on the road.
“Sydney has a decade of major infrastructure work ahead. Governments and businesses need to act now to make construction trucks safer. The Australian and state governments should make TruckSafe accreditation, or its equivalent, a mandatory part of construction contracts.”
Tax Change Concerns
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has said it agrees with the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and other industry groups about a recent Australian Taxation Office (ATO) determination that will reduce how much drivers can claim for travel on their tax returns.
ATO Determination TD 2017/19, issued on 3 July, has reduced the ‘reasonable amount’ that an employee driver, or an owner-driver, may claim for travel expenses without substantiation by $42.10, which translates to a 43 per cent reduction.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson, in his capacity as Secretary and Treasurer of ARTIO, has written to the ATO to express concern about the lack of consultation with industry about the Determination, along with the impact such a significant reduction will have on individual drivers and their income.
“We are amazed the ATO has made such a far-reaching Determination that will leave drivers and their families so significantly out of pocket without bothering to inform the industry,” said Anderson.
Victoria Highway Upgrade
Works to strengthen the Victoria Highway between Western Australian and the Northern Territory will soon be under way, with the contract to deliver the $35.5 million bridge replacement projects at Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks awarded to Northern Territory business Allan King and Sons.
“The Victoria Highway is the only sealed link between the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which means this upgrade project is critical to the keeping the Perth to Darwin freight corridor open for business,” said Darren Chester, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. “This project will replace the existing bridges of Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks to 1-in-20-year flood immunity standards, consistent with other crossings along the Victoria Highway. It will create approximately 60 jobs, 10 of which will be allocated as Indigenous positions.”
The new bridges ill replace the existing crossings with higher structures, along with raised road approaches and culverts at low points to minimise the impact of flooding.
State road managers improving permit turn around times has been welcomed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. The latest results show the state authorities have been able to significantly improve the turn around time for heavy vehicle class 1, 2 and 3 permit applications.
“Data released by the NHVR showed 226 class 2 permits beyond the 28 days in March, but a targeted effort by state road managers has reduced this number to just 50 in the most recent quarter,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “VicRoads in particular needs to be congratulated for reducing the number of outstanding permits from 93 in the January-to-March quarter, down to 6 in the April-to-June period.
“This is an excellent result for the heavy vehicle industry and encouraging to see jurisdictions willing to engage both the NHVR and industry to ensure the application backlog is addressed.”
According to Petroccitto further work is being undertaken with state governments and local councils to increase the non-permit networks to further reduce the burden on industry and road managers.
said they had listened to heavy vehicle operators and worked with the NHVR to process outstanding permit applications.
“Responding in a timely manner shows the industry that we respect their input and value their efforts to improve productivity,” said Eric Henderson, VicRoads Director Regulatory Services. “Victoria is the lead jurisdiction in permitting access for High Productivity Freight Vehicles to move more with less.”
A freight monitoring trial in Victoria, which pairs in-vehicle technology systems with VicRoads data is hoped to help trucks and heavy vehicles better navigate Victoria’s road networks, and at the same time improve efficiencies for operators and safety for drivers.
The VicRoads Innovative Freight Road Trials will include technology from Navman Wireless Australia and Vehicle Monitoring Corporation (VMC). It will help to divert trucks away from low bridges and other vulnerable parts of the network, as well as help to ensure that vehicles carrying dangerous goods are operating safety.
“The VTA has long been an advocate of using technology in and out of the cabin to improve productivity, efficiency and safety for drivers and operators,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO. “These trials are an important step in continuing to educate operators that relatively accessible and inexpensive technology can make immediate contributions to improving their bottom lines and improve driver safety.
“We strongly encourage other jurisdictions to follow VicRoads’ leadership role in providing data for in-cabin systems, so that drivers can have access to a guidance system that directs them to approved routes.”
Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has been working with VicRoads in establishing the trials creating a shortlist of participating technology providers. Navman Wireless Australia and Vehicle Monitoring Corporation were shortlisted from seven companies, and were assessed over the past six months by VicRoads and TCA against strategic and technical principles.
In the first trial, Navman Wireless Australia will use in-vehicle navigation technology alongside VicRoads data to direct heavy vehicles onto routes based on their mass, length, width and height. Benefits expected from the trial include the prevention of operators unintentionally using unsuitable roads and driving under low bridges, using in-cabin driver alerts to drivers when approaching rail crossing or low bridges heights.
In the second trial, VMC will partner with BOC Linde, ELGAS and Cootes Transport, trialling technology to ensure vehicles carrying dangerous goods, such as combustible gas, are operating safely. This trial will show how real-time data collection can improve management of dangerous goods vehicles, and will involve intercepts by VicRoads to verify information, including mass and trip details.