Vertical Clearance Data
Released in September 2021, our NSW State Roads Vertical Clearance data provides the minimum vertical clearance of bridges over State Roads in NSW.
You may have heard of the Montague St Bridge in Melbourne, which is famous in part for the number of trucks that have crashed into it due to a lack of sufficient clearance. How many trucks? Enough to warrant an entire website dedicated to tracking them.
While we may not have an equally as famous bridge in NSW, we do have more bridges and tunnels with low clearances of less than 4.6m than any other state in Australia!
And as is the case for Montague St Bridge, sometimes a regular sign is not enough. We’ve had multiple closures of parts of the M5 East and Sydney Harbour tunnels due to overheight trucks missing warning signs.
One creative solution is water wall technology called Softstop, which projects a holographic image of a stop sign onto cascading water in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, directly in front of drivers.
It is triggered by height sensors that detect when an oversized vehicle has not seen previous warnings to stop, and has been successful in stopping every vehicle that has triggered it so far.
For all our other bridges and tunnels, we hope that the release of this dataset will enable vehicle and GPS manufacturers as well as app and website developers to incorporate information about the height of tunnels and bridges in NSW into their products and develop more innovative solutions to this problem.
What could that look like? It may take the form of route planning that avoids bridges that are too low for your vehicle, or the provision of additional warnings on approach (think Google Maps narration but “Watch out for that bridge!”).
In the meantime, the Centre for Road Safety has guidelines on avoiding overheight incidents, so if you drive a truck, a caravan, or other oversized vehicle, be sure to give them a read before setting out on your next road trip.