Big loads wait for Gap go-ahead

MAIN Roads is working hard to try and get a second massive transporter down Cunningham's Gap, after it became grounded at Glenvale at the weekend.

A pair of Heavy Haulage Australia (HHA) transporters - carrying mining gear worth an estimated $16 million - were in their passage from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane and eventually Canada, when told they couldn't travel safely down the Gap due to their sheer size.

Both measured 64m in length, were 4.2m wide and weighed 260 tonne.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) spokeswoman said the first load was given a permit to cross, but measures would have to be put in place to allow the second to travel down.

"TMR inspectors will be on site to check the road following the load going through and up to four prime movers will be required to enable manoeuvring and the slowing of the load as it descends the Gap," she said.

"In the past there have been loads of a similar size transported through the Gap under temporary road closures - however never two at the same time and never when there has been this level of reconstruction underway.

"This sort of operation with this scale of oversized load poses significant safety risks, especially around major road works like the $40m reconstruction works at the Gap."

The spokeswoman said experts at the Gap were waiting to see whether any damage was caused when the first load went through.

"We need to ensure the first can travel through the works safely without damaging the road and getting stuck," she said. "The risks posed by two 64m long and 260 tonne loads getting stuck on the Gap during the wet season are simply too great and could cause a 24 hour closure or more."

It is unsure when Cunningham's Gap will be closed for several hours to allow the second load to pass through.

In the meantime, HHA has employed 24-hour security to watch the cargo which is sitting at the Fisher Park Truck stop at Maryvale.

While the machine and its operator wait for the green light to pass down, some clever birds made the most of the situation, setting up a nest atop the transporter.


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