The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has given approval for State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Oamaru to be used by trucks carrying loads of up to 50 tonnes, increasing freight efficiency on this important route.
A New Zealand freight Study in 2008 forecast a 70 percent increase in freight over the next 25 years.
The NZTA granted the approval for State Highway 1 to carry HPV permitted vehicles after completing an assessment of the route to see if it could carry vehicles of this weight. A change to the Vehicle Dimension Mass Rule in May, allows the granting of High Productivity Motor Vehicle (HPMV) permits for loads over 44 tonnes to be carried on approved roads.
NZ Transport Agency Otago-Southland Regional Director Bruce Richards says ensuring bridges and other structures can handle trucks of this weight is a critical component of the assessment process. No strengthening work was required to bring the Dunedin - Oamaru section of State Highway 1 up to the required standard.
Truck operators can now apply for HPMV permits to use this road. These are issued at the discretion of road controlling authorities – access to local roads are authorised by councils and those for state highways by the NZTA, Mr Richards said.
Since the Vehicle Dimension Mass Rule change there have been over 50 HPV permit applications in the Otago-Southland area. Four of these have been approved - many of the remaining permits are expected to be granted once routes have been assessed and approved.
Bruce Richards says HPMV permitted heavy vehicles are no higher or wider than heavy vehicles currently on our roads. The larger loads they carry should mean fewer trucks on our roads. These vehicles will be subject to all current heavy vehicle standards and additional safety features around vehicle stability and brake performance.
More information about the Vehicle Dimension and Mass Amendment 2010 can be found at http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/Land/VDMAmendment2010/(external link)