Two new Traffic Response Units to help battle Brisbane congestion

By: Chris Smith

Two additional Traffic Response Units (TRUs) for Brisbane were unveiled this week, with a new look and a new plan

Two additional Traffic Response Units (TRUs) for Brisbane were unveiled this week, with a new look and a new plan to help ease congestion on Brisbane’s roads.

Funded as a joint project by Main Roads and Brisbane City Council, the new $2.2 million, two-year service contract will be delivered by the RACQ to provide a 24/7 response to incidents on Brisbane’s major roads.

Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt and Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman say the TRUs had a proven success rate in battling congestion in Brisbane’s CBD, having attended more than 4,600 incidents in 2007 alone.

It is estimated that the units have saved thousands of hours of delays for motorists around the Brisbane CBD over the last year.

Pitt says the service would now be expanded to the major roads of the wider Brisbane traffic network to help ease congestion caused from incidents.

"Three additional units are now in service during the morning and afternoon peaks, meaning there are six units available to quickly respond from strategic points around the network," Pitt says.

"Traffic accidents, breakdowns and minor road hazards such as small spills and debris are responsible for 40 per cent of Brisbane’s traffic congestion.

"This initiative is all about reducing the impacts on motorists and ensuring we make the best use of our current road network’s capacity."

Main Roads traffic numbers show that a single broken down car or minor incident blocking a motorway traffic lane for just 15 minutes adds more than an hour's congestion in peak times.

"These TRUs will arrive at an incident within 10 minutes around the Brisbane CBD and within 20 minutes on our motorways, meaning most incidents can be cleared quickly and safely," Pitt explains.

"This will help reduce hours of delays for the rest of the community and assist in reducing the strain on police to respond.

"I'm pleased that Main Roads and the Brisbane City Council are continuing to work together to ensure the benefits of this service are felt right across the Brisbane road network."

Pitt says the government is also considering giving the TRUs wider powers to clear vehicles involved in relatively minor accidents, and remove spilled cargo or goods blocking traffic lanes.

Newman says the service has been an important traffic management tool since it was introduced to Brisbane’s CBD roads in 2001.

"I think the TRUs are a great investment for the people of Brisbane," Newman says.

"The high-visibility new look blue and yellow TRUs offer a quick clearance service that can be deployed by the Brisbane Metropolitan Traffic Management Centre at a moment's notice to help keep our roads moving."

TRUs are renowned for their unique padded "push-bar" attachment which allows them to quickly push broken down vehicles out of traffic lanes to restore traffic flow.

More than 430 vehicles were pushed out of running lanes by these units in 2007.

Traffic Response Officers, or "Road Angels" as they are often nicknamed, are highly trained in incident management and can also provide on-road assistance like changing a flat tyre or performing basic mechanical repairs to get vehicles moving," Newman says.

"The officers provide real-time road condition and on-site reports to the Brisbane Metropolitan Traffic Management Centre to assist in managing traffic and reducing impacts from incidents on the rest of the network.

"Motorists involved in accidents can also feel safer as TRUs create a safe space around their vehicle, and work with police and emergency services to reduce the risk of secondary incidents like nose-to-tail fender benders."

RACQ’s CEO Ian Gillespie said the club was pleased to be involved in another initiative designed to ease congestion resulting from traffic accidents and incidents.

"The TRUs offer a valuable service to the community with their ability to clear obstructions from the road, such as debris from crashes, and keep traffic on our roads flowing safely."

Eight additional Traffic Response Officers have been trained to assist the current staff of five in providing the new 24/7 service to Brisbane motorists.

The new TRU service is just one of a number of initiatives being launched this year on Brisbane’s roads to help keep traffic flowing.

In March, Main Roads launched the new Motorway Breakdown Response Service through the RACQ, which provides a free tow for all broken down vehicles on major roads.

If you are involved in a traffic incident, or have seen an incident occur, please call the Brisbane Traffic Centre on 13 19 40 or phone from any of the blue help phones along major arterial roads.

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