Pirie council 'leads way' in opening up truck routes

Port Pirie Regional Council is being loaded up with praise for its unveiling of new road train routes in the district.

“It is absolutely fantastic news,” said Wandearah farmer and grazier Darren Button.

Mr Button welcomed the council’s decision to gazette an estimated 25 to 30 roads for use by road trains, but stressed it was not his victory.

“It has been driven by a couple of farm families, the Mumfords and Inglises,” he said.

“A questionnaire about the network was circulated by council infrastructure director Kathryn Johnson and there was strong support for the change among farmers.

“Kathryn has done a great job on this.

“The council is leading the way for local government areas on the eastern side of the Spencer Gulf.

“It will open up a lot of rural roads for road train access. Those roads will be gazetted. Generally speaking, farmers have not been able to use those roads. It will affect 50 percent of rural roads.”

Farmers will be able to transport livestock, grain, hay and fertiliser on the new network. It will simplify freight practices and it will mean that landholders will no longer have to use smaller trucks or B-doubles on multiple trips.

Farmers now hope Spencer Highway and Clements Gap Road can be gazetted by the transport department to add to the freer movement of road trains.

“Perhaps people in the cities don’t realise the significance of it, but there will be some major freight savings,” Mr Button said. “It will also remove a lot of vehicles from the road. They will operate at slower speeds.

There will be some major freight savings.

Darren Button, farmer and grazier, Wandearah

“The lead smelter in Port Pirie has had the advantage of being able to use road trains to reduce their freight costs. Now everyone else will be able to do it as well.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens said it was a “monumental decision”. “City folk don’t see the benefit of it, but the regions do,” he said.

Infrastructure director Ms Johnson said roads had been identified as suitable for 30-metre-long or 36.5-metre-long road trains.

She said some roads would need to be improved to reduce risks and enable access.

Signs would be put up and trimming of trees was almost done.

It was planned to endorse 328 kilometres for gazettal for 36.5-metre-long road trains.

The transport department was trying to arrange access to Spencer Highway via the bypass at Port Broughton.

This was under Barunga West Council’s control.