AFTER months of lobbying from the Victorian Farmers
Federation (VFF), VicRoads has announced the extension of the
Victorian road train network.
Previously, road trains had only been allowed in the far north-west of
the state, but VicRoads has extended the area where road trains will be allowed to travel.
The new extended area will include major highways in the Wimmera region, where there are several large hay processors and some remaining farmer reserves of fodder.
“The VFF, with our members, have been calling out for measures
to make it easier for hay and fodder to reach farmers in need,” VFF
Grains Group President, Ross Johns, said.
“VicRoads should be congratulated for listening and acting,” he said.
“This change will have a positive impact on many, both those transporting
feed and those farmers urgently needing supplies.
“Given the current dry conditions, facilitating the efficient movement
of hay and grain to drought-affected farmers is critical.
“ We c o n g r a t u l a t e VicRoads and the Minister on this first
step, and encourage the Government to permanently extend the road train network to deliver increased access and efficiency on
Victorian roads. “The State Government is almost half-way through its first 100 days. Infrastructure, particularly fit-for-
purpose roads, is a key area where the Government could make significant improvements and invest to support
Victoria’s agriculture sector,” Mr Johns said.
The expanded road train network will include the Western Highway from the South Australian border, the Borung Highway between Dimboola and Warracknabeal and the Henty Highway from Horsham to Ouyen.
From Ouyen, the new road train area connects with the established network where large vehicles are allowed, meaning continued access over the Murray River into NSW and beyond.
At this stage the t e m p o r a r y n e t w o r k through the Wimmera will be in place for six months, although farming groups are already lobbying to have it made permanent.
Road train operators are now able to apply for a permit to transport
hay and feed to the drought affected areas in New South Wales and Queensland providing they specify in their application the hay and feed is for drought relief.
For hay loads, the following conditions must be met: Height of the combination, when transporting hay, does not exceed 4.6 metres;
Width of the combination, when transporting hay, does not exceed 2.83 metres wide; Mass of the combination, when transporting hay, does not exceed 79.5 tonnes;
Operator complies with the conditions detailed in Victoria’s Road Train policy including the minimum axle spacings outlined in the policy and
the Operator Guide for transporting hay.
For feed loads, conditions include: Height of the combination, when transporting feed, does not exceed 4.3 metres; Length of the combination, when transporting feed, does not exceed 36.5 metres;
Width of the combination, w h e n t r a n s p o r t i n g feed, does not exceed 2.5 metres; Mass of the combination, when
transporting feed, does not exceed 85.5 tonnes (HML).
Mr Johns said the next step was to broaden the drought fodder road train extension to also include livestock and general transport with road trains.
“Once you get this extension and have allowed these road trains to move, it makes logical sense to extend it to normal operations in time,” he said.