Following the Southern Expressway Project’s community meeting on 9 June 2015 I provided the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure with a summary of the decisions that were made at the meeting and he was notified of outstanding concerns that residents had regarding the completion of the Southern Expressway project.
The following is an update from the Department on these issues.
Cladding for the noise wall
DPTI have awarded the contact for this work and preparation works have begun. DPTI have advised that the work is expected to take approximately 12 weeks and be completed by the end of September or the early October.
New removable bollards to prevent unauthorised vehicle access onto the pathway have been installed. After the nosie wall cladding has been completed, landscaping will commence in the area between Marion Road and south of Seacombe Road and the replacement of the current rural fencing with pool fencing will be completed.
Local access road at Ralph Street / Marion Road
The Department restated that a safety audit was completed in November 2014 and subsequently installed in December 2014 and early 2015 in increase awareness of the service road. They indicate that they will not pursue further initiatives at this intersection.
Following on from the conversation about noise levels at the meeting, I asked the Minister specifically about noise mitigation works during July Estimates. I am pleased to provide a copy of the Hansard where the Minister said some extra funding would be available for additional noise mitigation works. A copy of the noise testing report from February 2015 is also still to be provided to my office. I will let residents know when this has been received so copies can be provided on request.
Vegetation and maintenance
DPTI have advised that residents can contact the Darlington Project Office on 1300 759 334 or email@example.com with questions or concerns relating to landscaping and vegetation maintenance.
Truck Exhaust Brakes
DPRI have investigated the instillation of signage to advising trucks and buses to use low gear. The investigation has concluded as below:
Australian Road Rule 108 states:
‘If the driver of a truck or bus is driving on a length of road to which a trucks and buses low gear sign applies, the driver must drive the truck or bus in a gear that is low enough to limit the speed of the truck or bus without the use of a primary brake.’
The descent on the Southern Expressway meets the requirement for the use of the R6-22 - TRUCKS & BUSES MUST USE LOW GEAR signage which has been confirmed by DPTI’s Traffic & Access Standards Section which has been installed at the top of the Darlington escarpment.
Furthermore, DPTI’s ‘Operational Instruction 2.18 Noisy Exhaust Brakes: Information to Drivers’ also states:
‘Engine (exhaust) brakes are an integral part of a truck's braking system.’ and that ‘The additional braking provided by engine brakes is an important safety feature’.
As the decent is approaching an area requiring stopping at traffic signals, I am advised by DPTI that it would be unsafe to also advise truck drivers to not use a component of their braking system at locations where a safe stop is required.
I will continue to keep my website update as new information is provided to me on this issue. Residents are also always welcome to call or visit my office for an update.