The opening of the north Orange bypass could pave the wave for a radical plan to ban heavy vehicles from Summer Street and the central business district.
Orange councillor Gavin Priestley will push for the council to investigate options to stop heavy and articulated vehicles like semi-trailers driving on CBD roads including Summer Street, the southern end of Anson Street, and Moulder Street.
“We’ve got the [north Orange bypass] opening on the 12th so now is the right time to do it,” he said.
Cr Priestley said the council would be able to set a maximum load limit or vehicle access limits on the streets with agreement from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
He said heavy vehicles travelling on the southern end of Anson Street had been an ongoing concern because of the safety implications for schools in the area.
But he would also like to see the limits extended further in the CBD, particularly in single-lane streets with roundabouts.
“Heavy vehicles ... chop the road up because of their weight,” he said.
“We acknowledge that schools are a hazard area because we have 40km/h speed limits.
“So why wouldn’t we extend that and get rid of heavy vehicles?”
Heavy vehicle traffic in Moulder Street has increased significantly from an average of 39 vehicles per day in 2010/11 to 58 in 2011/12, according to a traffic committee report.
The committee decided against introducing a weight limit on Moulder Street, despite receiving a letter from a resident raising concerns about the increased heavy vehicle traffic.
The report said the bypass was expected to ease the number of heavy vehicles in residential streets, but Cr Priestley said drivers needed more encouragement to use the new road.
“I think we will get take-up [of the bypass] much quicker this way,” he said.
He said the heavy vehicle ban could cut the council’s road maintenance costs.
“I’ve watched several times as trucks come down Anson Street and go right across the roundabout,” he said.
“They’re not designed to be driven over.
“When vehicles turn it puts enormous thrust on the road ... if you look at a roundabout the bitumen is pushed up into waves on one side.”