Truck Highway "danger"
Wednesday, 12th May, 2010
South Broken Hill resident Robyn Gould said she wants more people to see and comment on Perilya's development application which, if approved, would see up to 108 trucks a day rumble past some residents' homes.
"I'm sure people aren't aware of what they are proposing and they need to be," Mrs Gould said.
"That's a lot of truck movements. It's an accident waiting to happen."
The majority-owned Chinese company lodged the DA, currently open for public comment, with City Council to restart mining at Potosi.
It wants to transport ore from the mine, 5.5 km north of the city centre, to the Southern Operations concentrator.
If approved up to six B-double trucks every hour for 15 hours per day would drive through the city - that's one truck every 10 minutes.
From 7am to 10pm every day Perilya wants the trucks to rumble from the Potosi mine, down Argent Street, turning left at the Menindee Road then right onto Holten Drive before driving along Eyre Street past the St Anne's Nursing Home and the new film studio, crossing the Eyre and Bonanza street roundabout before entering the south mine entrance.
While Perilya said there would usually be only 48 heavy vehicles movements (24 loads) per 7am to 10pm shift Mrs Gould said that was still too many.
"Does it matter if there's 10 less?"
Perilya also wants to allow two trucks per hour on the same route overnight - between 10pm and 7am.
But Mrs Gould said that's ridiculous and a new option must be found.
"There's the nursing home up there and the film studio. That's not good," she said.
"Build a haul road around the back that's not going to interfere with anyone. Or fix the rail and use that."
The company said it did consider a number of alternatives.
An option to use rail only was deemed unfeasible due to the condition of track and rolling stock and the risk of injury and environmental or property damage from derailment.
But Mrs Gould believes there would be more injury and damage if there was a truck crash or rollover.
"Well what about B-doubles crashing into pedestrians or rolling over on the road - there's a lot more at stake," she said.
"What do they think would happen with a B-double on the road?
"The main aspect is safety. That's seven days a week traffic we're talking about.
"That's a lot of trucks on that road."
Perilya said building a private haul road around the city, using no public roads, was rejected because it would need to buy the land and construct the road which would be cost and time prohibitive.
It also said the road would become "an unofficial by-pass, allowing motorists to avoid travelling through the city of Broken Hill and imposing unreasonable road maintenance costs on Perilya".
"I think it's absolute rubbish. It's an excuse," Mrs Gould said.
"Why would they want to cut across there?
"Turn that around on its head and it's going to be the same thing to lots of people (and council) with the volume of those trucks and other vehicles on that road."
Another option, building a road through the northern operations bypassing the Barrier Highway and Menindee Road, would require road modifications, including constructing a new intersection and that, Perilya said, was likely not to be approved.
That option would also require heavy vehicles to pass under a mill overhead conveyor which Perilya deems unsafe. To remove it or to build a road around it would cost Perilya more.
"They're saying money to everything," Mrs Gould said.
"Everything's going to cost money and they'll make a great deal of money."
The DA also includes a decline, construction of a power line, substation haul road, extension of the Potosi mine office, building a workshop/store area and an unsealed parking lot.
The development application is now open for public comment at the City Council office and residents have until next Wednesday to do so.