Tracks open for triples

The beginning of the Strez at Lyndhurst.
The beginning of the Strez at Lyndhurst. Bruce Honeywill

THE Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks are the stuff of legends.

These roads are the tracks of drovers and herds of Channel Country bullocks walking down the Birdsville Track to the railhead at Marree.

The country's most famous cattle duffer, Harry Redford, took a thousand stolen Queensland cattle down into South Australia following Strzelecki Creek.

But today these tracks are more like highways, wide graded gravel, heavily corrugated with use.

The South Australian part of the tracks has been limited to double road trains, however an announcement this month by the South Australian government has opened both tracks to Type 2 road trains, up to 53.5m in overall length which in general terms means triples for the remote country.

While this will improve efficiency significantly for the oil and gas fields it will also help livestock transport heading in both directions.

Already triples - six deck units - have lifted cattle out of Clifton Hill Station up the Birdsville track and into Queensland markets.

The opening of the roads for triples will increase efficiency for both livestock producers and transporters, whether taking Channel Country cattle south to southern markets or Birdsville Track cattle north to Queensland markets.

However there are restrictions. Maximum speed on unsealed roads is 70 kmh with an appendum that a triple must reduce speed to 25 kmh when another vehicle is approaching. Heavy vehicles must give way to all smaller oncoming traffic at stock grids.

Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland President Ian Wild was happy with the decision of the SA government.

Mr Wild says the result has come through transport associations in both SA and Queensland lobbying government and the decision has been more than a decade coming.

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