Motorway Debris Costing WA Taxpayers More Than $2m Per Year Photo:
Trevor Collett | Aug, 06 2015 | 2 Comments

Western Australian taxpayers are shelling out more than $2 million per year to deal with debris on the state’s motorways.

The number of items that have fallen off cars and trucks or escaped the load areas of trailers has increased in recent years, and WA’s Department of Main Roads has now spoken out.

Motorways around Perth are the major concern, with Main Roads forced to collect more than 50 dangerous items each month.

Furthermore, the $2 million bill only accounts for Main Roads’ maintenance of road verges and does not include the costs of hiring contractors to collect and dispose of road rubbish.

The financial impact associated with congestion caused by closed lanes while rubbish is being collected is also unknown.

Main Roads traffic operations manager, John Venables, said residents moving house and tradespeople were the worst offenders.

"We're finding things like buckets, ladders and wheelbarrows that fall off tradies' vehicles - that's our biggest ones," Mr Venables said, speaking with the ABC.

"It's just enormous the number of aluminium ladders that have come off vehicles. And you wouldn't want to hit a wheelbarrow, you'd certainly come off second best.”

Items such as milk crates, helmets, hardhats and piping are also common finds.

Mr Venables said the level of debris was compounded during weekends; the time most people chose to move house.

"We get cupboards and tables and mattresses and things like that fall off vehicles," Mr Venables said. "Bricks also, that can be quite hazardous if you hit a brick at speed."

Main Roads believes simple laziness and carelessness are to blame for most of the debris, with Mr Venables saying motorists aren’t checking to see if loads are secure - despite fines of up to $1000 for debris.

WA’s Road Safety Council has echoed Main Roads’ calls, saying debris often ended up in emergency lanes which hindered emergency service vehicles as they attempt to attend time-critical jobs.

Motorists in WA were reminded that a wayward mattress caused a five-car pile-up earlier this year, and dirt spilling onto a motorway caused major delays during peak hour last week.

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