A blunder by VicRoads has been blamed for a surge in heavy trucks rat-running along a busy Yarraville road.
Drivers of B-double trucks who want to travel on Somerville Road in Yarraville are required to obtain a permit.
But an error on the B-double interactive map on the VicRoads website led to a free-for-all by incorrectly identifying the route as suitable for the trucks – measuring up to 26 metres long – to travel without permits.
VicRoads heavy vehicle services director Eric Henderson said the error, in place for months, was identified late in June and fixed at the start of July.
“We recently identified an error on our website where Somerville Road was listed as an approved B-double truck route, when it is not,” he said.
“We’re working with industry to ensure they comply with curfew and permit requirements to travel on Somerville Road.”
Mr Henderson said VicRoads’ Transport Safety Services team had increased patrols to make sure drivers were aware of the rules.
The error coincided with Maribyrnong council blaming its paperwork load for the decision to offer blanket approval for B-double trucks to use Somerville Road, rather than the traditional practice of assessing each request for a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator permit on a case-by-case basis.
Parents at Kingsville Primary School and nearby residents said the decision left the route inundated with the large trucks.
Kingsville Primary School council president Glen Yates said parents couldn’t understand why the council would make it easier for B-doubles to use the route when at once stage it had pushed to have all trucks banned.
Maribyrnong infrastructure director Steve Hamilton said the council no longer provided pre-approvals for B-doubles travelling along the section of Somerville Road under council’s jurisdiction, between Geelong Road and Whitehall Street in Yarraville.
“Each application to use Somerville Road is now assessed on its merits, council no longer issues 12-month pre-approvals for B-doubles,” he said. “VicRoads was advised of this and have revised relevant maps accordingly.”
Maribyrnong Truck Action Group president Sam McArthur said the mix-up took months to untangle and only came to light due to pressure by residents and MTAG.
Ms McArthur said the situation revealed a disturbing lack of concern and co-ordination by decision-makers in VicRoads and the council.
“It’s such a sensitive issue in the City of Maribyrnong, it beggars belief that these decisions are being made without checking with people,” she said.
“It’s a flabbergasting lack of thought that boils down to people making decisions based on traffic management and administration and not taking into account the effect on people”.