C&L, CICA, Cranes & Lifting, Features, Technology

Tasmania leading the way with productive road access

In conjunction with key industry groups such as The Crane Industry Council of Australia and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Tasmanian State and Local Government road managers have developed a state-wide system to maximise heavy vehicle productivity and access across Tasmania’s roads.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) was established in 2013 and the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) commenced in February 2014. The introduction of the HVNL resulted in greater responsibility being placed on road managers when granting access.

In Tasmania, heavy vehicles provide an essential service to many critical parts of the economy, including the Agriculture, Aquaculture, Construction, Development, Energy, Forestry, Retail, Manufacturing and Mining industries.

The main challenge for Tasmanian State and Local Government road managers has been to develop a consistent, state-wide system to maximise heavy vehicle productivity and access across Tasmania’s roads, with the least administrative burden and while managing the risks to road and bridge assets and community safety.

In meeting this challenge Tasmanian road managers have worked collaboratively with mobile crane operators, the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and the NHVR to produce a system of access for the Special Purpose Vehicle industry, which provides for the significant majority of all crane access, via a gazetted Notice, without the need for permits.

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The system is known as the Heavy Vehicle Access Management System or HVAMS for short.

A Department of State Growth spokesperson explains the thinking and how the HVAMS works for the Tasmanian crane industry, the industry’s customers and road managers throughout the State.

“The Department recognises that the crane industry provides an essential service to the Tasmanian economy and, along with the heavy vehicle sector in general, underpins the business activity and economic growth of the State. As a road manager, heavy vehicles productively, efficiently and safely accessing the road network is a very good thing and we are grateful that we have a professional heavy vehicle industry that provides for the community’s needs and ongoing prosperity.  It is therefore very important that road managers, in turn, provide efficient and sustainable access for these vehicles to the state’s roads,” the Department spokesperson said.

From initial discussions and exchanges with a broad range of industry operators, including their representative associations, road managers took the view that they needed to provide road networks and gazetted notices to facilitate productive heavy vehicle access, rather than individual routes and permits.

“As a the road manager we need to provide the heavy vehicle service industry with the flexibility to serve their customers requirements, where ever and when-ever that may be,” said the spokesperson.

“Our first priority back in February 2014 was to assist the Over Size Over Mass (OSOM) heavy vehicle industry. Working collaboratively with industry operators, the Tasmanian Transport Association and collectively with local government road managers, the Local Government Association of Tasmania and the NHVR we were able to produce a gazetted Notice in 2016 that covered off on approximately 80 per cent of OSOM activity without the need for a permit,” said the spokesperson.

“In early 2017 we turned our attention on to the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) industry, which includes mobile cranes. From the very start adopting a collaborative and collective approach in partnership with road managers, CICA, crane hire companies, and the NHVR was key. It was always clear that building trust, mutually beneficial relationships and an agreed understanding of the issues and the facts to find workable solutions, was the only way that we would be able to effectively progress.”

By August 2019 a gazetted Notice was released and HVAMS for SPV’s came into being as the method of access for the significant majority of mobile crane access on the Tasmanian road network, without the need for a permit.

“This is the result of two to three years of solid committed work from all parties. We are particularly grateful to the individuals in the mobile crane industry who helped educate us about their business, its needs and requirements. We enjoyed a very positive engagement with industry, although it wasn’t always easy  or straight forward, with everyone coming together with different views and needs, but we worked through it to reach a great outcome,” said the spokesperson.

HVAMS is fully harmonised presenting effectively one road manager and one road network to industry with one set of conditions of access throughout the State. The system provides a common, transparent and equitable access platform that is used by road managers and crane operators alike to discuss, negotiate and sustain the most productive, efficient and safe way of travelling to and from site in what is an ever changing and demanding road and vehicle environment.

“HVAMS helps us to partner with the crane companies to make sure that they are productive and safe and that we are managing the public road asset together with mutual understanding,” the spokesperson said.

“We know these guys are doing important work for our community and so the system is obviously available on demand around the clock. At 2 am on a Sunday morning, a crane company can type their vehicle information into the system and it will give them access and conditions right there and then, and pretty much they can just go.”

HVAMS has been operating since August 2019 and is accessed on a website: https://hvams.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/spv.

“The operator enters the vehicle parameters, in this instance a crane, including vehicle width, length, height, axle distribution, axle masses, etc.” said the spokesperson.

“Once all the information has been entered correctly the system generates an interactive map of access, including conditions. The parameters entered can be saved to a unique code that can be reused at any time in the future to go straight to a contemporary map. As a crane can be ‘set up’ in different ways a vehicle code can be generated for each individual setup, so you could have say five codes against one crane, or as many as you like!”

HVAMS is intuitive and all the information and explanations that an operator needs for road manager consent is available and live. When you’ve finished reading this article try entering the demonstration vehicle code 4ATCSPV2 into the Enter Vehicle Code box in the Travelling under Notice section of the front page and click on the Check Inputs box to see how it works.

“A number of symbols appear on the HVAMS map. These highlight that there are conditions the operator must comply with, as the crane selected has a higher impact on that particular part of the network, most often a bridge or other structure.”

By clicking the symbol, the operator will be given the conditions for travelling over the bridge.

An example of the systems functionality is the day or night travel option in top left of the map.

This option gives the operators the flexibility to keep running on a 24/7 clock and gives road managers the flexibility to set conditions depending on the level of natural light.

“At night bridges don’t suddenly get stronger. If a crane is asked to slow down to 10 kmph during the day it will also be asked to do the same at night, however the road manager may require different mitigating conditions, in terms of pilots or escorts for example,” the spokesperson said.

“The reason why a road manager requires an operator to slow down to 10km/h over a bridge is most likely because that structure was not originally designed and constructed to carry a selected vehicle’s mass distribution. The structure is most likely in good condition, with many years, meaning decades, of design life left remaining. Often a road manager must still allow access, for the good of the economy and the community, and then manage the increased risks.”

“A way of managing these risks and receiving assurance that the travel condition is, or is able to be, met is through the use of in vehicle telematics. Vehicle telematics is a method of monitoring a moving vehicle by recording data, such as the vehicles location and speed, through GPS and other on-board diagnostics.  With good levels of assurance that conditions are met, a road manager will usually accept more risk. Information from a telematics unit can also be used to inform a road manager about which bridges to target for upgrades or replacement. With a greater adoption of telematics, greater levels, efficiency and sustainability of access will be enjoyed by a productive industry in Tasmania,” the spokesperson said.

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