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MP’s windfarm truck warning

Member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson has written to the Gullen Range Windfarm developers asking that all drivers servicing the site adhere to the road rules.

Her letter, to Goldwind’s project manager (owners representative) Ben Bateman, with copies to Roads Minister Duncan Gay, Police Local Area Commander Gary Worboys and Police Minister Michael Gallacher, was sent last Thursday, four days after a truck trailer bound for the construction zone overturned on Kialla Road.

“I would ask you to note that in the more than 14 years that I have represented this area I cannot recall one single complaint from local residents about poor behaviour of heavy vehicular traffic on the route,” she wrote.

“However in the past five weeks I have received many complaints specifically identifying vehicles associated with the Gullen Range Windfarm construction site as driving inappropriately according to the road conditions.”

Ms Hodgkinson referred to the NSW Road Rules 2008, Section 25- 1(2) which requires all road users to drive their vehicle “having regard to the nature, condition and use of the road”.

“Judging by the numerous complaints that I have received it is my considered opinion that these vehicles are not adhering to this important requirement,” she wrote.

“I would strongly suggest that, in the interest of public safety, you instruct the project manager to ensure that all vehicles servicing the Gullen Range Windfarm construction site to adhere rigidly to the NSW Road Rules and drive safely according to the conditions.”

Last Monday’s incident on Kialla Road is still being investigated by the company and the police.

The 34-year-old Goulburn driver was not injured.

Residents along Range and Kialla roads have complained that heavy vehicles associated with the windfarm have been “in far too much of a hurry”.

The police, Upper Lachlan Shire and Goulburn Mulwaree councils have also expressed concern that sections of the roads cannot handle constant heavy vehicular traffic.

“Whether it’s in our Shire or not, sections of the road are a hazard,” Cr Malcolm Barlow told a recent shire meeting.

Goldwind, in a statement, last week said: “Range Road is a Roads and Maritime Services designated B-Double route. This road is managed by Upper Lachlan Shire Council and Goulburn Mulwaree Council.”

However, Goulburn Mulwaree Council has confirmed that Range Road is not a designated B-Double route.

The vehicles servicing the windfarm, truck and trailers, are not B-doubles and are allowed to access that road.

Meantime, work will start tomorrow on modifying roundabouts in Goulburn’s CBD to accommodate large Gullen Range windfarm-bound trucks transporting turbine parts.

The roundabouts at Clinton and Faithfull streets, Clinton and Deccan streets, and Deccan, Goldsmith and Fitzroy streets, will all be affected.

The 73 wind turbine farm was given planning approval by the State Government in August 2010.

Catcon and Consolidated Power Projects have been engaged by Goldwind to undertake construction.

Commissioning will happen late this year or early next.