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Wind farm trucks “a danger” on Range Road

The large number of heavy trucks using Range Road between Goulburn and the sites for the Gullen Range wind farm is causing alarm among other users of the road.

The trucks are carting cement and aggregate for the on-site production of concrete for the massive bases required for the turbines.

Fears have been expressed that the presence and number of the trucks on the narrow and winding road provide the ingredients for a tragic accident.

The matter was raised at last week’s Upper Lachlan Council meeting by Cr. Malcolm Barlow.

Cr. Barlow said he had received a number of complaints from residents of the area and others using the road.

“They (the trucks) are travelling at the right speed but still present a danger on the narrow road,” Cr. Barlow said.

He added that noise of machinery on the construction sites was often contrary to the conditions of consent.

One resident had reported that on a trip to Goulburn he counted nine trucks travelling in one direction, six in the other.

He moved that Council ask the Department of Planning, as the consent authority, to require the developer to ensure that its heavy vehicle traffic does not constitute a safety hazard to other users of the road involved (especially Range Road), and that the developer (Goldwind) complies with the conditions of consent in relation to the hours of work and associated noise.

This was seconded by Cr. John Searl.

Cr. Brian McCormack commented: “The Range Road in our area is quite good, quite wide, but in the Goulburn Mulwaree end edges are broken away, holes alongside the road are not filled in and trucks either have to get right off the road or stay on it.”

Cr. McCormack added that children waiting for school buses stood “right on the edge” of the road, creating another danger area.

He said that as a driver of trucks on the road, from his experience most of the problem was in the adjoining shire.

Cr. Barlow: “Whether it’s in our Shire or not, sections of the road are a hazard.”

Cr. Jo Marshall supported this.

She described watching two trucks travelling in the opposite directions “at over a hundred kilometres an hour” passing each other close together with the bogies swaying dangerously.

Director of Works Mr. Phil Newham described talking to the developers about the problem as “a waste of time” as the decision would go to an Independent Arbitrator.

He added he had raised the issues with the truck operator.

“Complaints should go to the Department of Planning – we don’t have much teeth in it,” Mr. Newham said.

Cr. McCormack pointed out that the wind farm was not the only user of heavy vehicles on the road, as there were chicken farm movements and stock carriers also involved: ‘A lot of vehicles use this road.”

Cr. Paul Culhane said he had also received complaints.

Council decided to take up the issues with the Goulburn Mulwaree Council, the Independent Arbitrator and the Department of Planning.