Local Government Magazine

Providing for oversize transport

Jonathan Bhana-Thomson, CEO, Heavy Haulage Association.
The specialist oversize sector of the road transport industry involves the movement of large indivisible items on transporters for their clients, which include local authorities.

Examples of this are concrete and steel beams for bridges upgrades, the movement of large construction equipment for roading developments, and pre-fabricated items for construction and development projects such as treatment plants, or council facilities. We also provide transport services to businesses, contractors, developers and ratepayers to construct thriving local areas.

We need the assistance of local authorities to carry these activities out with safety and efficiency. Councils need to identify oversize freight routes in their area that are likely to be on arterial roads, and on collector roads. Please feel welcome to identify these routes with our association and local oversize transport operators. This is very important when considering the design of such roading infrastructure in areas such as: Pedestrian raised platforms and refuge islands; new traffic signals; construction of new roundabouts; and road width restraints caused by cycleways and shared path facilities.

The detailed impact of these features on the transport of oversize loads must be considered and respected at the early design stage, as our requirements for oversize freight can have significant implications on your design. Councils can refer to our Roading Design Specification for detailed info about generic design features, or contact the association for information about specific locations.

Maintenance on oversize routes

There are also aspects to maintaining oversize routes, such as ensuring that sign poles close to the roadside edge are located in sockets with wedges to secure them. A considerable problem we have is roadside vegetation on oversize routes that is not maintained to the height and width required on oversize load routes. We would like to see a height clearance of at lest six metres over the roadway, and in rural areas we need a width clearance that is three metres back from the roadside edge.

In urban areas this depends on the  overall road width, but the vegetation clearance should be sufficient to allow an 11 metre wide load to travel through. To put it simply, this makes the transport of oversize loads safer, and there is less risk of branches falling onto the road if they are hit.

Notification of road works

A key challenge over the past 12 months has been more road works and maintenance with full road closures and detours. While this may be more efficient for the contractor, we find they are not often experienced in assessing whether the detour routes are suitable for freight traffic – including oversize loads.

It is key that the Traffic Management Plans used by the contractors include provision for oversize loads to travel through the work area. Detour routes need to be specifically scoped for large loads, or facilitated through the roadworks. The association regularly receives info about roading projects and, if they impact on oversize transport, then we can distribute this to our sector in our weekly newsletter updates.

We are here to work with your local authorities for mutual benefit and, as the professional representative organisation for heavy transport, we always welcome engagement and feedback on issues that we need to work on together.


Related posts

One chance to influence the MDRS

LG web

Local government executives and recruitment

LG web

Council planning challenge

LG web