15th January, Roads, ranges, rest areas and a conference.

Goodaye all, well a big week, six legs and with starting at Wagga Monday morning, was chasing my tail most of the week, but got it all done without as much angst as I had anticipated, but it meant using my hours and that breaks were just enough.

Roads and the impact into the trucks and drivers is out of control. Yes there has been floods, but the issue is the repairs, the value and how long we will have to suffer it. I stopped where previously we had a decent size informal (but marked by someone we both know with green reflectors) truck bay. Transport for NSW have come along and improved???? The road by building overtaking lanes which have already got the bitumen coming up and failures as well. We could previously get 5 plus b-doubles in this bay and it had some shade. Now we will be lucky to get two in there and we lost the one on the other side of the road.

When I woke up there were a number of utes and I approached one lady to ask about the guideposts and she said, “He is the boss” as another ute pulled up. So I approached the fellow (and if he was named or known, most of his comments would lose him his job he said) and he detailed some of their problems. I said from the start I recognised they can only do what they are told and often, those above won’t listen to those doing the work.

He detailed struggling to get the right crews at the right time with the right gear, being told to use local labour where they could, but often they do not have the expertise or skills required, being forced to do things the wrong way or with the wrong product, yes when delays extend works, they start in summer and then finish in winter, still using summer product and vice versa.

The bay in question had guide posts between it and the road and then more at the back meaning you could not get parked and leave much room for anyone else. I asked him to remove at least one and he said “leave it with him”. But it is yet another failure that will cost more to maintain and then fix properly. Why? So do we keep throwing good money after bad?

I am also having a discussion, about to get heated with Transport for NSW about the loss of truck parking bays and the placement of overtaking lanes on the Newell, let alone the state of the section south of Forbes. Yes I know it rained, yes there is still water for miles and miles across the floodplain, but why is the road still buggered if they spent all that time and money to open it? Why do we do half arse repairs on roads, spraying tar that all goes back up on cars and trucks instead of doing proper repairs?

I travelled down through the village of Pilliga yesterday coming home from my last drop at Wee Waa and the failures along there, north and west are simply rough rock sections that have not been touched in months. Yes, as at the start, I recognise there is a shortage of skilled staff etc, but do we even have a plan, is someone making sure we are getting value for money from the works done? Look at the Toowoomba bypass, work had been stopped by the union over safety issues on a site that was meant to be the eighth wonder of the world according to TMR and look at it now.

Consultation with industry would not have solved the failures there now, but we may have had a better long term outcome that did not need mile high banks. What will it cost now, enough that it could and should have been done without the dip in the middle, but what would us truckies know?  The frustration level is growing, so let’s now be positive.

The NRFA Conference in Wagga Wagg at the RSL on Saturday the 11th February should be on your calendar. You should join the NRFA and then attend. We have a good range of speakers including and ex NSW Highway Patrol officer who told me at one stage he preferred dealing with truckies, so his chat may be very interesting. Join, come and have a say and help us to help you. Don’t sit back and whinge and want it done, help make it happen.

I started listening to the Copy Southbound podcast last year and have now listened to the last five this week. Funny enough during the week I had a number of drivers say they had enjoyed listening to mine, but the one with Max Keogh, an industry legend I met once at an ATA convention and the Graeme Burke one were not only very good, but again raise then issue of why the concerns they both have are still not solved, (not here the paragraph above) but I will keep trying. Off tomorrow to load for Shepparton. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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