Edward River Council is being asked to help improve safety for transport industry drivers and other road users by establishing a dedicated truck parking and rest area.
Deniliquin Truck Show & Industry Expo committee member Leesa Muir will today meet with council hoping it will support the proposal and become project manager.
Ms Muir first raised the idea with the former Deniliquin and Conargo Shire councils before their merger to form Edward River in May 2016.
The plan was then put on the backburner because of the merger transition process.
Ms Muir said it was now time for it to be officially on the agenda, particularly as council continues to progress large scale development which could increase heavy vehicle transport through the area.
‘‘Deniliquin and district is already a high heavy vehicle movement area, and council’s plans to establish an air freight hub at Deniliquin Airport will only increase that.
‘‘It will also increase if the plans for a Deniliquin ethanol plant proceed, and we have seen the opening of the Conargo Feedlot last year which will result in in a traffic increase. And we already have the Deniliquin Rice Mill and Australian Grower Services operations.
‘‘With fatigue laws for the transport industry we need to ensure we provide a dedicated facility for rest breaks.
‘‘There is council land near the Deniliquin Saleyards and Rice Mill that could be suitable, if lighting and toilet facilities were provided.’’
Ms Muir said transport operators passing through the area only have access to limited informal truck stops, many of which are not weather proof and offer no toilet facilities, which are only provided at the Hardinge St roadhouse and north Deniliquin truck stop. Otherwise, parking is limited.
She also said Hardinge St stop was limited to one hour between 6am and 6pm — only just enough time to shower and have a meal.
‘‘If those areas are full — and they can become full quite easily — it is a long distance to the next rest stop with facilities,’’ Ms Muir said.
‘‘Between Kyalite and Deniliquin, Deniliquin and Hay, Deniliquin and Mathoura and Deniliquin and Finley none of the truck stops has facilities.
‘‘A truck stop could be located between the Deniliquin Saleyards and the Rice Mill.
‘‘It could be accessed from either the Cobb Highway between Deniliquin and Moama or the Barham Rd, on which roadworks have just been completed to improve access for heavy vehicles.
‘‘There is an opportunity for the old kiosk at the saleyards to be upgraded to include showers, toilets and possibly even a laundry.’’
NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans, who met with Ms Muir to discuss the issue last week, said neighboring Berrigan Shire Council had raised similar concerns about lack of adequate facilities.
He said the shire’s proximity to the Victorian border had seen it overlooked for upgrades or developments.
‘‘I think there is an opportunity to get support for a bigger parking facility in Deniliquin, and perhaps other smaller upgrades to the smaller rest areas,’’ Mr Evans said.
‘‘Legislation requires transport drivers take regular stops, and we need to support that legislation with infrastructure.
‘‘Edward River Council has indicated there may have been plans for a similar project a number of years ago. The next step is to finalise location, design and costing for the proposed Deniliquin project,’’ he said.