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A Victorian state government pledge to crack down on private companies blocking inner-city roads and contributing to traffic congestion has the backing of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The new scheme involves private companies paying a Road Occupation Charge (ROC) to use inner-city arterial roads as part of building works or other activities from Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Most local governments charge developers who set up construction equipment, scaffolding or worksites in traffic lanes – this program extends those arrangements to cover arterial roads.
It will not apply to people temporarily occupying a road while moving house or renovating.
The scheme will apply to inner-Melbourne roads across 121 suburbs – from Beaumaris in the south east, Balwyn North in the east, Glenroy in the north west and Kingsville in the west.
This follows a successful trial across inner Melbourne in 2018, which saw a reduction in the length of road occupation periods by up to 75 per cent.
During the trial, one construction company reduced their occupation of a busy Melbourne intersection from 92 days to one day.
The Victorian Department of Transport will monitor the network to ensure companies are complying with the ROC – and all revenue collected will be re-invested into congestion busting initiatives.
"Private construction companies blocking lanes on our arterial roads keeps Victorians in their cars even longer on their daily commute and has a serious impact on our economy," Victorian roads minister Jaala Pulford says.
"We know how frustrating it is when construction clogs up important road space – the change will keep drivers moving, getting home sooner, everyday."
The VTA lauds this as an example of government policy that can support productive and efficient supply chains.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson says the initiative could lead to a massive reduction in congestion and road blockages that were reducing productivity and efficiency across the supply chain.
"For supply chains to run efficiently and smoothly it is essential for road traffic to flow smoothly and consistently," Anderson says.
"Thanks to major construction projects around Melbourne, together with a distinct lack of permanent clearways on key arterial roads, there is no consistency on our city’s road transport network, which is wreaking havoc on transport operators and their customers in the form of delivery delays and destination bottlenecks."
Anderson adds it is proof clearways instead of curfews are needed around Melbourne, which the VTA has been advocating for some time.
"A common theme that emerged from our recent State Conference was that road blockages lead to chaos and uncertainty in our supply chains, with Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson encouraging the greater use of clearways on arterial roads to ease congestion and encourage more free-flowing traffic.
"The Government’s introduction of this new charge – based on evidence that proves traffic flow will improve as a result – bolsters our argument that clearways must be deployed on a more permanent basis on our roads and thoroughfares.
"Instead of curfewing trucks from roads, we encourage the Government to create clearways that its own evidence demonstrates will reduce congestion and therefore improve productivity and efficiency in our supply chains."
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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