WA revamps pilot escort rules for over-width machinery

WA changes pilot escort rules for wide machinery
Main Roads WA has eased the restrictions for pilot escorts of over-width farm machinery to allow only one agricultural pilot for widths under 8.5 metres

Main Roads WA has revamped its pilot escort rules for over-width machinery following a backlash from the farming industry.

The changed requirements are designed to be simpler and more streamlined.

Three zones will now operate to determine the need for agricultural pilots (anybody who holds a vehicle licence), while the previous 100-kilometre restriction from origin to destination has been removed.

A green zone will consist of areas bounded by regional distributor and State roads.

While an orange zone describes regional distributor roads and State roads out of the Perth metropolitan area.

And lastly, a red zone designates the Perth metropolitan area where oversize pilots and escort requirements apply.

In the green zone, which relates more to farmer “traffic” towing implements, only one agricultural pilot is required for widths under 8.5 metres (previously 7.5m).

But the restriction is a limit of one kilometre of travel in the orange zone (for example, while travelling on a State road).

If the width is under 6.5m and you exceed one kilometre, one licensed pilot and one agricultural pilot are required.

If the width exceeds 6.5 up to 8.5m, a licensed pilot and two agricultural pilots are required.

The contentious issue for farmers has been the need for themselves or their workers to  become accredited as licensed pilots. Many did not believe there was enough time to obtain accreditation credentials before the rules became law.

However, Main Roads WA acting access manager Rich Bain said that significant

concessions had been made to farmers and in the case of widths up to 8.5m, the normal requirement was for a traffic escort warden and two licensed pilots.

“The key considerations for change for farmers related to short distance movements, the low number of movements and general community awareness,” Mr Bain said.

“In terms of travelling more than 1km on a State road with just an ag pilot, we have judged it as too high a risk, given the number of inexperienced farm staff involved.”

But he suggested he was open to speaking with farmer bodies about concerns with the requirements.

In the case of equipment manufacturers, Main Roads WA has made a concession of extending width requirements by one metre to 6.5m and requiring one licensed pilot and only one agricultural pilot, previously two agricultural pilots were required.

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