Thirty new routes for super-trucks
Thirty new routes for super-trucks or ecocombis that connect to Flemish motorways have just been approved. That reports the Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV). “Only the safest routes haven been selected”, the Flemish authorities say.
In mid-2014, a first pilot project started with the ‘long and heavier lorry’, also popularly known as the ‘super-truck’. From now on, trucks up to 25 metres long, with a maximum weight of 60 tons, were allowed on the road. Two of these mastodons on wheels can replace three normal trucks.
From two to thirty
There were only two defined routes allowed, on which one truck could drive each time. There was a ‘beer shuttle’ between AB InBev in Louvain and the port of Antwerp, and in that port a shuttle service between both banks of the river Scheldt.
A new pilot project was then launched in July. From now on, thirty new routes can be approved every six months. Moreover, these routes are no longer reserved for a single transporter. Each carrier can use a certain route if the truck and driver meet certain conditions.
Only the safest
A first group of requests from 47 transport companies that submitted 74 route requests has just been completed, reports the Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV) now. “We looked at each route thoroughly, including through a site visit”, spokesperson Veva Daniëls says. “Thirty routes haven been approved and only the safest were selected.”
For example, transport may not pass through a zone 30, too many vulnerable road users may not use the route and the super-truck may not pass along difficult intersections or unadjusted roundabouts. Daniels also points out that the trucks “must be given a special inspection and they also have an adapted braking system.”
Port of Antwerp is epicentre
The new routes connect to the basic Flemish network, consisting of all motorways and a number of roads in the port of Antwerp. From now on, super-trucks can also drive on the Bellestraat (near the Noorderlaan) and on parts of the Henry Fordlaan and the Rostockweg, west of Ekeren. Routes around the motorway complexes of Kontich (including the Expressway), Herentals-Industrie, Geel-West and Mechelen-South have also been approved.
Transport federation TLV reacts satisfied for the time being. “After the test with two routes, it is now possible to drive on a relatively large scale”, says Secretary-General Lode Verkinderen.
“It is true, however, that some routes have been rejected because they pass by black spots. We call on the government to make the necessary investments so that these sections can also been given the green light. We know about transporters with a lot of opportunities.”
The AWV says it does not expect a spectacular increase in the number of super-trucks on the Flemish roads, but rather a steady growth. A new round has just started for the next thirty routes.