A new class of heavy truck, known as 50Max trucks, will be
allowed to use Dunedin roads without needing a special
The Government last year allowed the trucks on state
highways, but at present they need overweight permits for
each trip on local roads where the weight of the truck is
more than 44 tonnes. The 50Max trucks perform on the road, in
terms of pressure on the road's surface, no worse than
standard 44-tonne trucks because they have an extra axle and
can carry up to 50 tonnes.
Local authorities across the country are going through the
process of issuing district-wide approvals for the trucks to
use local roads.
Six local South Island authorities have so far approved 50Max
on their networks, and 26 North Island authorities.
The Dunedin City Council's infrastructure services committee
this week agreed to allow the trucks to use all roads in the
Dunedin district already able to be used by existing heavy
vehicles, except any structures or roads that cannot bear the
Transportation policy engineer Jon Visser told councillors
the council had been increasingly receiving applications for
permits for the trucks to use local roads.
Approving the use of the network would reduce the
administration requirements of that effort.
Studies had been done by the New Zealand Transport Agency and
the council had looked into the issue. Staff were satisfied
the additional weight of the trucks was not expected to cause
any extra damage to Dunedin roads.
Any existing restrictions in place for 44-tonne trucks would
also apply to the heavier vehicles, and any new restrictions
on structures and roads would be notified to NZTA, which
would notify 50Max licence-holders.
Because the trucks could carry bigger loads, it was expected
fewer truck movements should be required, with only a
relatively minor increase in fuel consumption, which should
benefit the industries the region relies on, such as logging,
dairy and meat, Mr Visser said.
After seeking assurances that staff were confident the trucks
were not likely to cause any extra damage to local roads that
would require extra maintenance, councillors generally
accepted the move made sense, although Cr Jinty MacTavish
said it would be better if the Government placed more
emphasis on using rail than on the ''likely minor''
environmental benefits from having fewer trucks on the road.