This is the year that Melbourne's helmeted bike riders will become intimately acquainted with another colourful species on the street: the orange-vested, hard-hatted construction worker.
And where there are construction workers, there will be trucks. And where there are tunnels and excavations, there will be many trucks.
The the Metro Tunnel Project in Melbourne is gearing up with five underground station blocks as well as tunnels and portals to excavate.
The West Gate Tunnel Authority is assembling a massive boring machine that recently arrived from China.
Millions of tonnes of materials will be moving on roads away from, and towards, these projects.
Routes are being planned carefully to minimise impact on the community, especially on streets busy with bikes and pedestrians.
None-the-less, our paths will cross, and there will be risks. However, with knowledge, confidence and care we will all get home safely.
The first centre of accelerated activity will be the Parkville Station precinct, with excavation within the site already underway, and elevated trucking movements from early March.
To minimise the impact of construction traffic on local roads, trucks will use routes that link to major roads and freeways, and away from the local road network, as quickly as possible.
To avoid trucks idling in local streets of the CBD and Parkville, two truck marshalling zones have been established – one on Batman Avenue and one on the corner of Elizabeth and Pelham streets in Parkville (the former City Ford site).
At the former City Ford site, truck entrance and exit points will be from Elizabeth, Pelham and Berkeley streets with the main route in and out from Flemington Road and Peel Street.
To assist with the safer movement and interaction between all road users, riders will shortly see some changes to the Elizabeth / Pelham streets intersection.
The Pelham and Berkeley streets intersection will also undergo a change with right of way being given to Pelham Street to improve the flow of road users at this intersection. This change will be implemented within the next few months.
Truck routes are developed in consultation with stakeholders such as local councils and VicRoads, and may change depending on road closures and unforeseen events.
GPS technology is also being used to track in real time the movements of trucks travelling to and from Metro Tunnel construction sites. This enables truck routes to be monitored to ensure vehicles are using the approved routes.
There are also other safety features being installed on heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonne.
Additional safety measures on Metro Tunnel trucks
- Fitting protection guards (side under run protection) on the side of heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonne, which is proven to reduce the impact of crashes between vulnerable road users and heavy vehicles. These guards help prevent vulnerable road users from sliding under heavy vehicles.
- Installation of additional mirrors and cameras to eliminate blind spots on heavy vehicles
- Fitting prominent signage to heavy vehicles warning vulnerable road users of the presence of driver blind spots
- Fitting signage to the rear of vehicles to warn vulnerable road users about getting too close to the vehicle
The project’s current fleet of heavy vehicles, over 4.5 tonne, have been fitted with the above safety devices and features.
Keeping riders updated
Bicycle Network and construction agencies will be keeping riders and pedestrians up to date with changes to road conditions as they occur.
We expect to also be keeping riders informed about the behaviours and observational skills that can reduce conflict between heavy vehicles and other road users.
Bike riders should be alert to truck movements in the Parkville and CBD areas and comply at all times with traffic rules.
Over the next few months you will have some great, relaxing commuting weather. Take the opportunity to start thinking about the trucks you see around you, and about what their drivers might be able to see of you.
With practice we should be able to develop the instincts to act in a way which keeps us safe.
If you see any activity that doesn't look right or think improvements need to be made, please contact us.