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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 30 May 2008
B double trucks in narrow city streets: Is it safe, is it wise?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news

Photo taken 26th May 2008 in Sydney CBD, corner of Liverpool and Sussex St

There is no doubt B double drivers are very expert drivers generally. But as this story points out on NSW Stateline fatal accidents do happen with pedestrians, especially the elderly, the deaf, the slow who have every right to be in their CBD:

Transcript An Avoidable Death. Broadcast: 01/06/2007 Reporter: Quentin Dempster

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: In 2001 Lola Welch, aged 70, was killed on the footpath near a construction site in the northern Sydney suburb of St Ives.

In the six years since, Mrs Welch's grief-stricken husband, Alan, a former construction controller for the Coles Myer group, has campaigned for changes to the law to make safety measures - including flag men to protect pedestrians - mandatory for all construction sites.

He's also tried to bring to account those he sees as responsible for the approval of the construction in the first place.

Although through his own investigative efforts and agitation Mr Welch made significant progress, he won't give up his demand for a coronial inquest as a start to changing the law.

Six years ago in pouring rain, Alan Welch took Stateline to the exact spot where his wife Lola had been killed as she was walking past a contentious home unit construction site in busy Mona Vale Road, St Ives.

Lola Dorothy Welch, aged 70, was killed when walked between the prime mover and trailer of a huge excavation truck moving across the footpath in front of her at 12:20 pm on Saturday, June 30. According to a police report:

EXCERPT OF POLICE REPORT: The trailer knocked the deceased to the ground and as the truck continued to turn onto Mona Vale Road, the rear offside two sets of wheels crushed the deceased, causing extensive head injuries and immediate death.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Alan Welch was called from his Saturday afternoon golf game to be told his wife was dead. His life shattered, he lost weight and was sick with grief. He told investigating police that Lola had a peripheral vision problem, identified by her doctors some years before. But during the police investigation he was comforted by the knowledge that all the facts would come out in a coronial inquest.

But there was no coronial inquest. In spite of a letter writing campaign, the ministers, the Premier, the Ombudsman, the ICAC, the Judicial Commission and the Attorney-General, the Coroners Office consistently refused. Six years later, Alan Welch, now 78, remains deeply disillusioned.

ALAN WELCH, WIDOWER: It should never have happened, it was totally avoidable. The builder was at fault for having the required safety measure in place, bus as I pursued it further, I learnt of the failure of the various authorities, in which we can discuss later, who have all contributed to Lola's death.

And we received this technical comment about cost of trucks on roads recently:

Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:20 PM
Subject: from RAILPAGE

for nearly 6 years i worked in the UWA civil engineering dept building data logging systems and writing code for thier soil labs. one of the professors there who was a road surfaces expert explained to me the amount of damage large trucks do to roads. B-doubles in particular. he went on to say one of the problems is that many of the prime movers have only 1 driven axle. the lateral loading on the bitumen broke it up over time. he explained light vehicles did next to no damage if the surface was sound. this was in the mid 90s. back then he said a B-double could do as much as $30k / year in road damage..

it would be interesting to do the maths and see what 21c/L equates to.



Posted by editor at 9:50 AM NZT

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