AT A TIME when Australian authorities bar truckies from using lanes on a number of major highways, this U.S state has a different approach.
Instead of pushing heavy vehicles from the express lane, the State of Georgia instead seeks to remove motorists from the equation, with designated truck-only lanes.
The proposed project will see the construction of two lanes restricted to trucks (similar to Australia's bus only lanes), on a popular freight route the Interstate 75 with an estimated to cost over $2 Billion.
The proposal comes in the lead up to the expansion of the port of Savannah, which will add to the demand on the State's trucking industry who already hauls 75 percent of the total freight tonnage in Georgia.
"The Port of Savannah is expected to grow pretty substantially and generate a lot of traffic along the I-75 corridor, so yes, it might make sense to add truck-only lanes there," said Darrin Roth, vice president of highway policy for the American Trucking Associations.
Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation Robert Poole says the time for dedicated truck lanes is now.
Mr Poole highlights three major reasons behind the need for the proposal, many similar to the situation in Australia.
These include the expected doubling in truck traffic in North America, complicated with an inadequate infrastructure capacity.
Driver shortages also come into the equation, which Mr Poole argues will increase the need for larger loads.
"With driver shortages confronting the industry already, the idea of hauling more freight per driver increases trucking company interest in using "longer combination vehicles" (LCVs)-triples and long doubles," he said.
The final reason behind the move according to Mr Poole was a growing interest in 'Truck Platooning' which involves a number of trucks equipped with driver support systems - following the other through smart technology.
The truck-only lane project is the first of its kind to go ahead in the U.S.
Similar projects have been mentioned in a number of proposals in Australia, including a 2012 report into a number of private financing options for Sydney motorways.
One such project suggested a 'high value vehicles link', open only to trucks, light commercial vehicles, buses, and, possibly cars used by several people.
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