Speed limits will be cut and polluting trucks will face stricter curfews on key routes under sweeping new changes to tackle pollution and boost safety on inner-west roads.
An Australian-first agreement will create an Environment Freight Zone on Footscray and Yarraville streets that will extend curfews for older trucks that don’t meet strict emission control standards.
Curfews on Somerville Road and Moore, Francis and Buckley streets will be extended by two hours a day for the first two years, extending to four hours a day after that, except for trucks manufactured since January, 2010, that meet stricter emission control standards.
Truck operators caught flouting the curfews face on-the-spot fines of $165.
Speed limits will also drop to 50km/h on Moore Street, along Williamstown Road north of Francis Street, on Francis Street west of Hyde Street and on Buckley Street between Nicholson Street and Geelong Road.
Maribyrnong council has been pushing for the 50km/h speed limit for some time, but the change has previously been resisted by VicRoads.
Roads Minister Jaala Pulford and Freight Minister Melissa Horne announced the changes on Tuesday under the banner of the Smart Freight Partnership – Inner West.
The partnership is a collaboration between the Victorian Transport Association, Maribyrnong Truck Action Group, VicRoads, the state government and Maribyrnong council.
The VTA and MTAG have each historically been at loggerheads over freight movement, but buried the hatchet last year in a bid to find a compromise that would benefit residents without crippling the freight transport industry.
Maribyrnong Truck Action Group secretary Martin Wurt said residents living on truck routes would directly benefit, along with operators who invested in cleaner trucks.
“Australia has one of the oldest truck fleets in the world and some of these trucks have no pollution-control measures whatsoever,” he said.
Mr Wurt said the model could be used in other areas around Australia where residents and freight movement came into conflict.
Ms Horne said the partnership would benefit industry and residents, while Footscray MP Katie Hall said the measures would mean fewer noisy trucks on local streets.
Concerns have been raised by owner-operators using older trucks that the income generated by moving freight through the inner-west is insufficient to fund new vehicles.
But Victorian Transport Association chief executive Peter Anderson said he was encouraged to see the government recognise the merits of the plan developed by the association and MTAG.
“Industry and community groups can achieve great things when they work together and acknowledge their individual needs and interests can be achieved through compromise and mature discussions,” he said.