Transport for NSW  has released new PBS Network maps  following the release of the updated PBS National Class 2 Performance-Based Standards Authorisation Notice by the NHVR.

The new maps reveal  that PBS combinations, which include 50.5 tonne GCM 20m Quad-Axle Semi-Trailer, 73 tonne GCM 30m Quad-Tri B-Double, 77.5 tonne 30m Quad quad B-doubles and 85 tonne 30m A-double tandem dolly rigs have been granted access, following NSW’s decision to to adopt the Victorian 30 m A-double reference envelopes.

The result is that a PBS A-double network  now connects Australia’s two largest cities and the NSW Level 2B network connects with Eastern Victoria along with the Princes, Monaro, and Hume Highways.

PBS engineering specialist Tiger Spider has said  that despite the fact that the NSW limit of 85 tonnes  is half a tonne less than the 85.5 tonnes allowed in Victoria, it is believed that it will be more usable  given the   complex bridge restrictions imposed in Victoria.

Tiger Spider has suggested  that the most significant bridge restriction in NSW  is the northbound route over Sheahan Bridge at  Gundagai where heavy vehicles must only use the left lane and follow no closer than 60 metres from a heavy vehicle in front.

“It is pleasing to see that NSW are prepared to put flexible and practical operating conditions to manage risk, rather than cutting off a critical part of the network,” said Tiger Spider’s  managing director, Marcus Coleman .

With the NSW network extending to Canberra and along the coast  from Nowra to Coolangatta, Coleman believes it provided a significant increase in the distance of  road available to PBS A-doubles in Eastern Australia with a useful weight increase over 26 m B-doubles.

“While it is great for A-doubles it should also encourage more Quad-Quad and Quad-Tri Super B-doubles since the Network and dimension restrictions appear less restrictive than in Victoria,” he said.

“The 50.5 tonne quad-semi now gets a significant network upgrade and certainty of access with less restrictive axle spacing requirements than Victoria,” said Coleman.

The minimum axle spacing, however, might be viewed as too large to attract all commodities. Coleman believes it could benefit from a quad-semi-trailer configuration.

“Hopefully, we can move away from naming vehicle types and just adopt reference axle spacings, he said, questioning whether it was time to implement a new bridge formula in Victoria,” Coleman said.

“This could open the way for B-Triples and other, more innovative combinations, but nevertheless, there is a lot on offer with this network,” Coleman added.

“It will take some time to fully digest the implications of what it means and how it will impact fleet purchases. But the network delivers certainty for operators and a glimpse at what a national PBS Network will look like,” he concluded