Keeping Roads Safe During 2023 Grape Harvest
Monday, 06 Feb 2023With the 2023 grape and wine vintage now underway, a reminder has been issued to all road users to help keep local roads safe to ensure this year’s crop gets from the farm to receival points as intended rather than being spilled across the region’s roads.
Griffith City Council's Development and Traffic Coordinator, Greg Balind said complying with relevant legislation and allowing heavy vehicles plenty of room while sharing the road not only ensures safety on the roads but minimises the potential for fruit and juice spills across the road network.
“Grape farmers have recently taken a big hit due to unfavorable weather so the last thing we all want to see is part of a salvaged crop wasted due to a spillage.’ Mr Balind said.
“In the past several seasons a number of grape spills upon our roads has resulted in other drivers losing control of their vehicles or being unable to safely stop at intersections.
“To ensure safety and cost minimisation, operators and cartage contractors must comply with relevant legislation and ensure that overloading does not occur and loads are carried correctly within the confines of the relevant vehicle’s load restrictions,” he added.
Enforcement will be undertaken across the region throughout the harvest to ensure vehicles comply with restrictions and that loads are secured according to the Chain of Responsibility laws.
When a grape spill occurs and vehicles are identified, heavy fines can be applied under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act and any additional costs associated with clean-ups will also be passed on to operators.
Mr Balind further advised that there is also a responsibility on other road users to give heavy vehicles the space needed on the road to make their respective journeys as safe as possible.
“Consultation with heavy vehicle representatives confirmed that there have been many occasions when heavy vehicle drivers have been ‘cut off’ or forced to take evasive action to avoid a crash due to drivers of smaller vehicles stopping suddenly or pulling out in front of a truck. Due to their size and weight, heavy vehicles obviously need more distance to stop and more room to turn so I urge all drivers to show courtesy and understand that the maneuverability of heavy vehicles is more extreme than that of a normal vehicle.” Mr Balind said.
Griffith City Council is also asking the community to help by reporting any grape spills so as action can be taken to clear the road and remove the danger to other road users as soon as possible.
Residents can report a grape spill by calling Council on 1300 176 077 during business hours or 6969 4823 after hours (J&J Security.)
Further information on grape spills, including reporting procedures, is available on Council’s website, www.griffith.nsw.gov.au
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