No light at the end of the tunnel for truckies

An interesting read in last week’s edition regarding the soon to be opened NorthConnex.

Finally, the missing link between the M1 (F3) and M2 is almost here, albeit 10-15 years overdue.

As a heavy vehicle operator, it’s disappointing there has not been more industry consultation and input into the regulations concerning trucks and the tunnel.

The outcome has resulted in a somewhat heavy-handed, dictatorial approach with no flexibility, which I believe will have negative long-term consequences.

No argument there will be some real benefits, particularly in peak periods but the ‘one size fits all’ approach with the mandated trucks must use NorthConnex has some issues.

The 5000 trucks a day off Pennant Hills (PH) Rd survey figure, is not 5000 individual trucks, it’s 5000 truck movements.

Operators such as us, who conduct multiple short haul trips have been counted more than once.

It’s not unusual to complete three round trips a night on the PH Rd corridor which will be six legs in the tunnel.

It’s astounding to be confronted with a nightly toll bill of $144, or $720 a week (especially when there is no traffic on PH Rd).

This doesn’t include other motorway tolls incurred across a shift.

In fact, to travel from Wahroonga to Liverpool will be around $60 or $120 return.

It’s unreasonable to expect a driver to be forced to travel six legs or 54km underground a night.

One way is three times longer than the Harbour Tunnel.

There are no real efficiency gains, after hours, with a travel time of 13 minutes from Wahroonga to Carlingford using PH Rd with green lights all the way.

As the regulations stand, it will be illegal to be on the PH Rd to even use restrooms and access fuel or grab a coffee.

It’s a disgrace.

Coastie Commuters will understand that PH Rd is the first and/or last opportunity to access facilities for the trip in or out of Sydney.

It’s a concerning precedent for the future of heavy vehicle route management.

I’ve suggested a curfew arrangement.

Why be forced to use the tunnel at midnight when there is no traffic on Pennant Hills Rd?

If the tunnel is going to be so beneficial, then everyone will want to use it so why make it compulsory? Perhaps the answer can be derived mathematically $600 000 to $840 000 a week in truck tolls alone.

With our Freedom of Choice taken away, it’s undemocratic, a raw deal and un-Australian.

Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Email, Jun 15
Rob Woolley, Mangrove Mountain