Timber traffic

Published on The Islander 8 May 2017 – Click here to view the original article.

A briefing in response to Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber’s (KIPT) Smith Bay Wharf proposal was presented by Yumbah Aquaculture to the office of the Minister for Transport Stephen Mulligan last week.

It highlights the important issue of the potential impact to KI by the heavy vehicle traffic required to transport logs to the proposed Smith Bay Wharf from the timber plantations.

In response to the report’s claims that this traffic could jeopardise the tourism industry and constrain other island industries reliant on the roads for their businesses, KIPT’s Managing Director John Sergeant said, “It’s not true.

“We are very conscious of road safety issues,” he said.

The document reports on the current road network which could not support the heavy vehicle traffic required to transport logs across the island and that KI Council would not be able to fund a road network upgrade without significant funding.

To maintain the current road network, an average $5 million every year for the next 10 years is forecast.

However, annual maintenance and capital renewal expenditure is only $4.2 million (including $2 million from the SA Government).

For transit of logs to Smith Bay, the most likely route from the west of KI is along Playford Highway, Stokes Bay Road and North Coast Road.

North Coast Road is classified as a ‘Primary Tourist Route’ with maximum traffic allowance of a 40-seat tourist bus.

Maximum gross axle loading for this type of vehicle can be up to 2.5 times lighter than general access semi-trailer trucks used for freight, thus making it non-viable for the volume and weight of timber freight expected by transporting logs to Smith Bay.

Major upgrades to existing roads and the creation of high capacity access roads are necessary for the viability of this freight, otherwise the damage caused by operating on sub-standard roads could impact the safety of other road users.

John Sergeant said that, “KIPT will not be operating B-Doubles.”

According to Yumbah Aquaculture, in the Green Triangle, crossing the plantation-dense southern border of Victoria and South Australia, log-carrying trucks travelling along the Princes Highway and other arterial roads have almost destroyed many sealed bitumen roads.

Glenelg Shire is now recognised by VicRoads and the RACV as having some of Victoria’s most dangerous roads.