CURFEWS TIGHTENED: Under a new government-backed scheme, Melbourne's inner-west is cracking down on truck access to some suburban streets.
CURFEWS TIGHTENED: Under a new government-backed scheme, Melbourne's inner-west is cracking down on truck access to some suburban streets. Maribyrnong Truck Action Group

Tougher new curfews for truckies in Melbourne's inner-west

DRIVERS of older trucks around the inner-west of Melbourne could soon have their work day clipped due to tough new government-backed curfews.

Billed as an Australian-first for cleaner freight and road safety actions, the Smart Freight Partnership-Inner West shortens access to Somerville Road and Moore, Francis and Buckley streets by two hours a day for trucks that don't meet strict emission control standards.

Trucks manufactured on or after January 1, 2010 that past smog tests (Australian Design Rule 80/03 or EURO V equivalent) will have three hours more access on weekdays than the older trucks and two hours more time on Saturdays.

It will also reduce speed limits to 50km/h along parts of Williamstown Road (north of Francis Street), Francis Street (west of Hyde Street), Buckley Street (between Princes Highway and Nicholson Street) and Moore Street.

School crossing curfews will continue to be applied on school days only. Truck operators caught ignoring curfew times can be fined $165 on the spot.

Big Rigs has asked the office of the Minister for Roads, Road Safety and TAC Jaala Pulford for clarification on when the new curfews will come into play and how they will be enforced.

In a written statement that lacked specific timing details, Ms Pulford said the curfew changes aim to strike a balance for the local community and transport operators by addressing concerns about safety, noise and air quality, while keeping freight moving effectively.

"The measures also deliver driver awareness training and encourage transport companies to use state-of-the-art cleaner and quieter trucks.”

The news is an extension of the agreement reached by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) in September last year.

Both groups said they welcome its progress to incentivise freight operators to upgrade to lower emissions trucks, as a condition for using curfewed roads in Melbourne's inner west for longer hours.

"Industry and community groups can achieve great things when they work together and acknowledge their individual needs and interests can be achieved through compromise and mature discussions,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.

"It is encouraging that the Victorian Government has recognised the merits of the visionary plan we developed with MTAG by establishing the Smart Freight Partnership, which we look forward to implementing in conjunction with operators, residents, Freight Victoria and local and state governments.”

A statement on the MTAG Facebook page, however, also said it was unfortunate that the government's media release today didn't include the full details of what is proposed.

"A key component of the proposal put to Government by MTAG and the VTA was additional truck curfews on Buckley Street (Hyde St to Geelong Rd) and Williamstown Road (Geelong Rd to Francis St) that would finally see night and weekend curfews on all the major freight routes in the City of Maribyrnong,” it read.

"The verbal agreements reached between MTAG and the VTA, and senior executives from VicRoads, Freight Victoria and Maribyrnong City Council, and Ministers Pulford and Horne, was that the package of actions would include curfews on Buckley Street and Williamstown Road.”

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