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Dangerous trucks plague Gladys Berejiklian's north-west rail link

Date

Jacob Saulwick

Pulled over: A truck that was stopped at Carrington on Tuesday morning.

Pulled over: A truck that was stopped at Carrington on Tuesday morning. Photo: NSW Police

Public safety is being repeatedly put at risk by contractors working on the state government’s biggest public transport project, according to NSW Police and Roads and Maritime Services.

For the third time in two weeks a trucking company transporting equipment for the $8.3 billion north-west rail link has been caught flouting the road rules.

And while NSW Police has repeatedly threatened those up the supply chain – which would presumably drag in top executives and bureaucrats working on Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s north-west rail link – the trucks continue to be loaded oversize and with too much weight.

The most recent incident occurred early Tuesday morning at Carrington and involved trucks carrying tunnel-boring equipment on the journey from the Port of Newcastle and Bella Vista in north-west Sydney.

The load was inspected by police and RMS officers and found to be in breach of its permit, over width and length, and the rear push truck had a substantial weight breach.

Traffic and highway patrol commander Assistant Commissioner John Hartley suggested the contractor would have been aware of the breaches.

"Despite our intercept in the early hours of this morning, inquiries suggest that in fact the push truck was already found to be overweight on the steer axles before it left the yard by the operator, who elected to move the load anyway, which is quite a concern,” Mr Hartley said.

Roads and Maritime Services director of safety and compliance Peter Wells said: "This is not good enough and the actions of this operator and other parties in the supply chain relating to these loads will be investigated under chain of responsibility provisions.”

Under chain of responsibility provisions the directors of a corporation can be prosecuted for safety breaches, as well as the customers of a trucking company.

A similar incident occurred last Monday night and another the week before that.

In a statement, a spokesman for the north-west rail link project said that the builders of the tunnels for the project – Thiess John Holland Dragados –  were looking for an alternative transport provider for the last truckload of equipment for the tunnel boring machine.

About 45 truckloads have been required to take the machine to Bella Vista from Newcastle. The last load remains at Newcastle.

“The company shipping the tunnel boring machines to Australia engaged a transport company to manage deliveries between Newcastle and Sydney,” the spokesman said.

"Transport for NSW expects the truck and its load will be re-assessed at the port," the spokesman said of the last load.

Ms Berejiklian said: “I am very disappointed to hear about the latest incident and I understand a new transport provider is being sourced.

"Given the scale and magnitude of this project, clearly there are challenges we need to manage.”

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