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.
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 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.
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.