This week I spent one day, coping with congestion, trying to get from A to B to C to D in Sydney with a truck, during a normal weekday. The day was also hot and the added heat from the frustration of working with these levels of never ending congestion, are enough for anyone to blow their top.
Luckily, for those around me, I did manage to keep my temper and not let the grinding traffic get to me. I was lucky, I did need to get from Ato B, but I was not on a tight schedule, the time pressures were simply self inflicted and not pressure from customers or consignees.
However, for many of the drivers of the trucks around me, who deal with this 24/7, the pressures would have inevitably been higher. There were definitely drivers in the same long queues to the interminable traffic lights, who were about to, or already had, blown a gasket.
There is clearly a need to bring the road infrastructure in the Sydney area up to the level where it can cope with the traffic now and into the future. Ironically, I was driving a concrete agitator, in a sector of the industry which is seeing a massive boom in Sydney. The increased number of trucks carting construction materials is part of the problem, making the congestion even worse than it should be.
And what is driving this boom in freight traffic across the city? Why, its supplying all of the major infrastructure projects, which are all underway across the city. There’s the North Connex, which will eventually mean trucks won’t have to sit in queues along the Pennant Hills Road. Then there’s the West Connex, which will eventually mean trucks won’t have to sit in queues along the Parramatta Road.
On top of this there’s the development of the airport, out at Badgerys Creek to the West of the city, with massive infrastructure changes around the whole region. When this finally opens, it will probably contribute to growing congestion on the West Connex, once it’s completed.
Yes, they continue to build massive capital projects to improve the infrastructure of the big cities, like Sydney. Melbourne looks like it might get a Ring Road, which actually is a Ring Road, if all of the stars are aligned, and many years too late.
Massive infrastructure projects aren’t enough, on their own. There needs to be a clear strategy developed by taking a broad view of the whole issue, which can identify ways to transcend this perennial problem.
Wasn’t Infrastructure Australia supposed to lead the way and bring some sanity to the situation? Instead, we revert to type and have individual state governments using infrastructure as a political pawn without any direction from a national standpoint.
Meanwhile, we, in the trucking industry, sit in interminable queues, burning diesel, getting frustrated and letting down the paying customer, with no end in sight. Productivity? Don’t even think about it!