Install more weighbridges


IT is good news that the weighing bridge out of Lae, Morobe, will finally come into full use on May 25.
The weighing bridge was established in 2009 but has not been operational.
Weighbridge technology is essentially a road scale that is able to digitally record the weight of a vehicle and its contents.
Made of steel and concrete combination, a complex scale is embedded in the structure that is connected to a digital weight indicator for simplified recording.
The Highlands region is connected to the country’s industrial hub in Lae through road – the Highlands Highway.
Road transport is the most important mode used on a daily basis and besides benefiting the road users, roads also play a significant role in promoting not only economic growth but also improve the living standards of people.
One does not have to be an expert on roads to know how overloading trucks have caused serious damages and deterioration to roads and their structures, including bridges.
One cannot deny that besides weather, the movement on our roads by overloaded vehicles is a contributing factor to the rapid deterioration of the road pavements.
This, in turn, results in sharp increases in the vehicle operating costs, time delay costs and maintenance costs, thereby increasing transport costs.
With the weather having a tremendous influence on the greater-than-normal volume of rainfall in this part of the world, PNG’s road infrastructure in particular stands to cop the full brunt of Mother Nature’s forces.
The country has to fork out funds from somewhere in order to cope with this natural phenomenon.
We reported about a bridge in Madang, which is the only access to town, collapsing when a truck carrying gravel to a construction site was on it.
The Bigei Bridge on the Usino-Bundi Tal road was built in 2014, but its foundation has been affected by frequent flooding.
And that is just one to mention.
The cost of damage due to the operation of overloaded vehicles on our road network is estimated at millions per annum.
If the loads are not controlled, this cost has to be carried by the road users, which will require significant increases in the road-user charges.
And so weighbridges should be installed in various places in the country to curb and minimise the number of overloaded vehicles on our national roads.
The weigh stations should have a positive impact in regulating major trucking and construction firms to prevent overloading or using unauthorised routes.
This then serves to help road upkeep and prevent unnecessary accidents.
The movement of big vehicles within city limits should also come under the microscope with measures including a routine policy for traffic guidelines for heavy vehicles.
Once a three month-awareness (Feb 25 to May 25) is over, fines will be imposed for those who exceed the maximum load capacity.
Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil said the Government was rehabilitating the Highlands Highway and trucking companies should be responsible for their loads so they did not damage the road.
Many trucking companies may not agree with time lost at the weigh stations, however, we are of the conviction that the reduction of overloaded vehicles will only be realised when dedicated and disciplined personnel such as road transport inspectors are around 24 hours.
This very important infrastructure is sure to better improve on the standard required load a heavy vehicle could carry at any one time to reduce damages to roads and its structures.