The Tugun bypass tunnel, heading north
The Tugun bypass tunnel, heading north John Gass

Free ride for the Tugun Tunnel truck challenge

THREE over-height trucks have caused traffic chaos in the past two weeks as they tried to use the Tugun Bypass tunnel.

The latest incident occurred on Friday when a southbound truck almost half a metre above the 4.6m restriction was stopped at the tunnel entrance thanks to height sensors closing the entrance.

"The removal of this vehicle resulted in a full closure of the Tugun Bypass tunnel in both directions for about 5 minutes, causing 6km of congestion for motorists," a Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said.

"Transport and Main Roads shares motorist's frustration when these closures occur due to over-height vehicles trying to access the Tugun Bypass tunnel.

"While most heavy vehicle operators are doing the right thing, there have been three closures in the past fortnight due to vehicles illegally trying to access the Tugun Bypass tunnel."

Transport and Main Roads shares motorist's frustration when these closures occur due to over-height vehicles trying to access the Tugun Bypass tunnel.

The spokeswoman said that vehicles of 4.6m or more in height are required to have a permit and are required to cross the border using the Gold Coast Highway.

"It is the responsibility of drivers to know the height of their vehicles and be aware of permit restrictions that apply," she said.

"As the tunnel is located on the NSW side of the border, NSW Roads and Maritime Services determine whether or not to take action against drivers of offending vehicles."

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services website states that heavy penalties apply if truck drivers do not comply with the requirements for over-height vehicles.

"From 1 August 2010, drivers who proceed past a clearance sign with a vehicle or load that exceeds the clearance are subject to an on-the-spot fine of $2052, and six demerit points," the site said.

"There are also heavy penalties, including a fine of up to $3300 if your vehicle is detected off-route, or you do not comply with the conditions on the current 4.6 Metre High Vehicle Notice or a specific permit issued for a vehicle more than 4.6m high, for example driving at the wrong time."

But a spokeswoman for roads and maritime said they do not fine drivers as a result of height infringements, with the task allocated to NSW Police.

My Daily News is waiting for comment from NSW Police on whether any truck drivers have been or will be fined.



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