The latest traffic camera and sensor technology has been installed on Hyde Street in Yarraville to catch drivers breaking truck bans during preparatory road works for the West Gate Tunnel, which will monitor compliance with bans and diversions in place.
Diversions during the essential road works include the closure of Whitehall Street northbound between Leek Street and Somerville Road, with traffic being diverted via Hyde Street.
Northbound trucks will have to use Hyde Street during the day, however trucks without a local origin or destination will continue to be banned at night. Maribyrnong Truck Action Group president Samantha McArthur welcomed the news.
“We welcome the news that the cameras have been installed because when those changes first took effect, we were just bombarded with residents who were kept awake all night by trucks, and they were in the part that was not going to be affected,” Ms McArthur said.
“The manoeuvring that these huge heavy vehicles have to do to use the detour… come up Whitehall, turn onto Leek Street, then turn back onto Hyde again… That’s a lot of turning in small residential streets. Why would you do it if you didn’t have to?”
Samantha McArthur has been a resident of the inner west for a bit over 20 years and said the Hyde Street curfew has generally been adhered to pretty well since it was introduced back in 2001.
“That one seems to be one that is pretty well followed. One of our members was a resident on Hyde Street and she would report curfew breakers on that street, but minimal compared to some of the other streets with curfews on them,” Ms McArthur said.
“For lots of drivers that are using residential streets to get to and from the ports and container yards, those guys are trying to do the run as quickly as they can and as cheaply as they can. It’s an incredibly low margin business to move those containers around.”
“There has to be enforcement of the curfews otherwise they are going to continue to use the streets because it’s easier. You can put a curfew in place, but there absolutely needs to be enforcement.”
VicRoads Transport Safety Services Manager Russell Greenland said the installation of the latest traffic camera and sensor technology is in addition to the enforcement measures that have already been in place.
“Our Transport Safety Services team will continue to monitor and improve the safety of heavy vehicles and trucks – this technology will help us identify drivers who fail to comply with the law,” Mr Greenland said.
Monitoring roads and catching truck ban breakers is no mean feat and Maribyrnong Truck Action Group president Samantha McArthur concedes VicRoads has its work cut out for them when it comes to enforcement of the curfews.
“We have had enforcement by the Transport Safety Services (TSS) officers from VicRoads, but it’s incredibly labour intensive, especially if you’re enforcing a night time curfew. You’ve got to have those guys there at 2 o’clock in the morning,” Ms McArthur said.
“From what I understand, the region that those guys cover stretches right out to Ballarat and other parts of regional Victoria, so to expect them to be able to regularly enforce the curfews is foolhardy, they just can’t.”
The newly installed traffic monitoring technology will gather intel on trucks breaking the bans. The information will automatically go to VicRoads, to follow up with truck drivers and target their on-site surveillance.
The infra-red technology will monitor northbound vehicles on Hyde Street at two locations – near York Street and near Berry Street. There will also be four additional CCTV cameras and an increase in surveillance and monitoring of traffic using Hyde Street.
Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan said the trucks bans are being taken very seriously, and non-compliance will be addressed, which is aimed at reducing the number of trucks using Hyde Street as much as possible.
“The state-of-the-art traffic monitoring technology should give local residents assurance that every effort is being made to manage traffic appropriately while the unavoidable detour is in place,” Mr Noonan said.
It is understood the temporary detour route, established for preparatory road works for the West Gate Tunnel, was determined through discussions with local residents and businesses, Maribyrnong City Council and VicRoads.
Information is being provided to the freight industry to ensure truck drivers and freight companies are aware of the detour route, the truck curfews, and that surveillance and enforcement will be increased for the duration of the works.