Route Planning Elements for Oversized Loads

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Transportation Tips and Advice There are many different methods of transportation which can be used to move people and goods around the country, from city to city and across the Outback. I have always been fascinated by transportation. When I was a boy, I would see a truck on the highway or a train on the tracks, and I would wonder where it had come from and where it was going. Although I don't work in the transportation industry, I have spent the last 10 years of my learning all I can from trade magazines and from conversations with transportation professionals. I hope you enjoy my blog!

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Transporting oversized loads requires thorough planning to ensure the safety of drivers and other road users. Route planning aims to prevent road accidents and improve the situational awareness of drivers. This excerpt discusses the various elements of route planning when transporting over mass freight. 

Route inspection. 

The route you intend to use should be free of transport risks such as low lying bridges and tunnels. Avoid routes with narrow and slippery roads. You may also want to keep off urban areas to avoid traffic disruptions. Check the weights limits of the road you will use. This will inform the number of axles you will have on the trucks ferrying the oversized load. 

Pilot vehicles.

Pilot vehicles are cars, SUVs or pickup trucks that escort the oversized load. In most Australian states, oversized loads must be accompanied by pilot vehicles. Below are the responsibilities of pilot drivers.

  • Inform the truck driver of road conditions that may affect the truck's stopping speed.
  • Warn other drivers of an oversized load.
  • Inform the truck driver of road signs such as speed limits and bumps.
  • Notify the truck driver of changing road conditions. These may include traffic jams, police stops and sharp corners. 

In addition to the pilot vehicles, you may require a police escort to control traffic in urban areas. 

Legal requirements. 

Once you decide which roads you will use, you should apply for interstate and intrastate permits that allow you to use the road network. In Australia, you need to submit a Transport Management Plan (TMP) to the Roads and Maritime Department. The plan provides details of the load to be transported, route survey and traffic management plans. If the route has a railway line, you require approval from the Rail Infrastructure Manager. Ensure that you communicate with tunnel operators regarding the transport of over mass freight if the route has tunnels. 

The reconnaissance team.

The reconnaissance team travels ahead of the truck and pilot vehicles. It evaluates road conditions before the transport team arrives. For example, they can advise the truck driver to stop and wait for rains and traffic jams to clear. Besides, the crew makes arrangements regarding stopovers. 

The emergency team. 

The emergency team responds to accidents, mechanical failures and incidents such as blown tires. As such, it consists of engineers and mechanics experienced in repairing heavy haulage trucks. In case of an accident, the emergency team will contact ambulance services, firefighters and the local police.

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