Drivers voice concerns over Gatton truck rest stop
INDUSTRY insiders have raised concerns surrounding a heavy vehicle rest stop westbound of Gatton being used as a temporary stockpile pad option.
Located nine kms west of the Gatton bypass, the heavy vehicle rest stop has, since mid-February been used as a "temporary stockpile pad option", in addition to a Helidon rest area eastbound while resealing works occur on the Warrego Highway from the Gatton Bypass to Helidon Spa.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said works on the Warrego Hwy would be expected to be completed this month, weather permitting.
Retired truck driver of 43 years Les Mills said his main concerns were the lack of signs warning drivers of the rest stop's dual use, the lack of barriers and fencing between the stockpile, machinery and the public access to amenities, and the impact it had on drivers trying to rest and manage fatigue on the job.
"This is the only decent truck rest stop, with bays, between Ipswich and Toowoomba," Mr Mills said
"There are truck drivers here resting and trying to manage fatigue which is very hard to do when you have vehicles driving around you and loaders working and unloading gravel."
A TMR spokesperson said while the Gatton bypass heavy vehicle rest stop was one of two designated heavy vehicle rest stop areas, and the only one with with amenities between Ipswich and Toowoomba, there were several alternative stopping places along the route.
"There are also two motorist rest areas, which heavy vehicles could also stop at but are not specifically designed for them. The one at Helidon has toilet facilities only," the spokesperson said.
Interstate Cincotta Enterprises truck driver Mathew Micallef took his designated rest break at the Gatton bypass heavy vehicle rest stop earlier this month because he said it was the only one he could find.
"It gets frustrating trying to sleep with them working right there," he said.
"It's pretty poor... my sleep is broken all the time but you do get used to it."
Mr Micallef said the situation wasn't only a problem in Queensland.
"It's a national issue," he said.
"This is happening everywhere."
He said the machinery noise did affect drivers' fatigue management.
"They want to fine us big money but they don't want to provide us areas to stay," he said.
A TMR spokesperson said safety was their number one priority.
"We provide dedicated heavy vehicle rest areas, motorist rest areas and dual-use rest areas across the state so drivers can stop and rest as required," they said.
"To maximise user benefits, we work closely with industry bodies and community groups to ensure rest areas support their needs. We regularly inspect the site to ensure there is a clear through-path for trucks to parking spaces and amenities."