Environment Waikato is concerned about the safety of logging trucks on regional roads, especially the growing number using the west coast Thames Road.
The Council is supporting moves by forestry companies to make logging trucks safer on the road by increasing their length to make them more stable and less likely to roll. About 40 logging trucks have been involved in crashes in the last year, mostly involving loss of control on a corner.
A growing number of trucks are using the Thames Coast road, which the Council says is not well suited to truck traffic. One company has purchased large amounts of crown forest licences, some in the Coromandel area and is consulting with Environment Waikato, Thames Coromandel District Council and Transit to find a cost effective solution to increasing volumes of logging trucks using the area.
Councillors said increased logging traffic would not be welcomed and it would be unlikely that the Thames Coast road would be upgraded for increased traffic. Initially four or five extra units would be using the road which was not a dramatic increase, but barging should be revisited to transport logs.
Chairman Neil Clarke said the Council wanted to express its serious concern about the safety of log transport and asked the Land Transport Committee to take a proactive role in discussions with the forestry industry, the road transport industry, Land Transport Safety Authority and Transit on the issues.
Cr David Peart said alternatives to roading should be looked at seriously.
Transport Committee Chairman Morris McFall said there was some concern about the use of the alternative to roading funding. There was more than one company using the Thames Coast road and since it was a public road they had a legal right to do so.
Use by trucks could only be prevented by restrictions on weight classifications on bridges.
“The combination of steep terrain and very sharp corners don’t lend themselves well to maximum length vehicles.”