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More than 500 signs rolling out on key freight routes and level crossings across western parts of NSW are reminding drivers to take extra care on the road this bumper harvest season.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said this year’s grain crop is shaping up to top a record 16 million tonnes, with headers already ripping into the task in the north of the state, and some grain receival sites opening for the first time in seven years.
“This year’s expected bumper harvest couldn’t have come at a better time for our farmers, but it does come with additional safety concerns with more activity around silos and stored grain moving off site,” Toole said.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, so we’re rolling out two types of signs to remind drivers to be patient, slow down and take care on the road this harvest.
“The NSW Government has teamed up with GrainCorp to roll out 27 electronic message signs along key road harvest routes, from Moree to Coolamon, promoting safety around managing fatigue, being aware of trucks and wearing a seatbelt. An additional 18 of these electronic messaging signs will be placed at high-risk level crossings.
“Long days harvesting and transporting grain can put farmers and drivers at risk, and with fatigue still one of the biggest killers on our roads, it’s important farmers and drivers look after themselves and take regular breaks.
“Being awake for 17 hours has a similar effect on you as a blood-alcohol content of 0.05, so these signs remind everyone to be well rested before starting a journey and to allow plenty of travel time.
“We’ve also got 500 free signs available for order by local farmers in western parts of the State whose properties have level crossings on them, which they can install on their gates to help increase safety at level crossings. Many farms have passive level crossings, which are only controlled by ‘give-way’ or ‘stop’ signs, so these signs let people know to stop and look for trains.
“Private level crossings that rarely see trains throughout the year will have a surge in activity, so these available red and yellow-coloured signs, developed in partnership with the Australian Rail Track Corporation, will alert road users that a train may be on the approach.
“These signs are another measure we’re taking to improve safety at level crossings right across the network and drive the road toll towards zero.”
GrainCorp Road Compliance Manager Kieren Gardner said it was great to be working closely with the NSW Government to drive home the road safety message during harvest.
“Off the back of a bumper 2020 harvest, ABARES is forecasting another large harvest in NSW, so once again there will be more grain trucks on the road in NSW from October right up to Christmas, so other drivers must be vigilant,” he said.
“Keeping everyone safe on the road is a priority and we ask that growers remain alert when harvest really gets underway in their particular area.”
Farmers who would like to request a sign for their property can go to: nswroads.work/gatesign. For more information on how to stay safe this harvest season, please visit the Centre for Road Safety website: https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/fatigue/
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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