B-doubles allowed on Jericho Road

B-DOUBLE haulage vehicles will be allowed to continue using Jericho Road, Moorland, following a local traffic committee review of the route after 12 months of operations.

Greater Taree City Council resolved at its May meeting to retain Jericho Road's existing status as a B double route between the two Pacific Highway interchanges.

Councillors were given the report from the local traffic committee that found the section of road was technically suitable for B-doubles up to 26 metres in length.

Traffic surveys over the past 10 months found the weekly volumes of local traffic was reasonably consistent, with the weekly volume of heavy vehicles fluctuating between 15 to 30 per cent of the total traffic, or between approximately 550 and 1060 heavy vehicles each week.

The report said the proportion of heavy vehicles which are B-double had increased from six to 22 per cent. However the traffic counter classifier was unable to distinguish between 19m B-doubles (which are not restricted to approved B-double routes or operating times) and oversize B-doubles, which do require an approved route.

Council was told two residents had objected to Jericho Road being a B-double route and listed a number of complaints, including disturbed sleep from truck movements during the non-approved period (11pm to 6am), refrigerated truck noise, traffic safety issues and diminishing the amenity of the area for residents.

The operator of the cafe on Jericho Road, Mr Rod Miles, addressed council on a number of the issues, and he was supported by Mr Phillip Mallon, from North Coast Petroleum. Both outlined what they believed was the value of the truck stop and cafe to the area and how the loss of business from the B-doubles (22 per cent of trade) would affect the community.

Mr Miles said the cafe was a social hub for the community as a whole, as well as providing a rest spot for heavy transport drivers.

Mr Mallon said the Moorland service station was started in 1961 and in 1975 commenced 24 hour operations.

He said the 'majority of residents are satisfied with the operations of the truck stop, there are only two against'. He added that facilities where heavy vehicle drivers could eat, rest and shower during their journeys were in short supply.