New South Wales: Call for vigilance at crossings as harvest gets underway

16 Nov

The Centre for Road Safety has reminded regional communities to be alert on roads and at railway level crossings in the coming months as the grain harvest season continues.

Grain is one of the state’s most important agricultural industries, with the NSW grain crop valued at nearly AUD4 billion in 2012-13.

Centre for Road Safety General Manager Marg Prendergast said that each harvest season brings increased heavy vehicle and train traffic as grain is transported from farms and onto market.

“Grain harvest season in NSW began in the state’s north in October and extends south until early 2014,” Ms Prendergast said.

“Heavy vehicle movements increase significantly during harvest season, there is more farming machinery on our roads and level crossings that experience few trains for much of the year spring to life.

“Motorists and other roads users in need to be aware of these changes to conditions follow the road rules and take extra care,” Ms Prendergast said.

Some rail lines in farming areas are used only to transport harvested crops so will be busy with trains heading in both directions during the harvest months.

John Holland’s Country Regional Network has also issued a safety reminder for the 2013 grain harvest season.

“We ask that motorists exercise increased caution around level crossings, particularly at intersecting roads,” said Nev Nichols, CEO of John Holland Rail Country Regional Network.

Transport for NSW has worked with the farming community to keep heavy vehicle movements as low as possible, but there will still be an increase on non-harvest months.

There will be more trucks on the road transporting grain and tractors and harvesters on the road moving between properties as part of the harvest. Farming machinery is generally much larger and slower than other vehicles using the roads.

Ms Prendergast said the harvest was a very active time for farmers and that many had tractors and harvesters running almost 24 hours a day.

“Farmers are very cautious about driving on roads and we make sure we maximise visibility with lights and signs on our vehicles.

“However, we urge everyone in rural communities to exercise extra caution during the season to help make it a trouble-free harvest,” Ms Prendergast said.

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