An overloaded truck in Abu Dhabi. Overloading of heavy vehicles will affect roads in the long run. Roads will become safer when the number of overloaded trucks falls. Image Credit: Gulf news archives

Abu Dhabi: A number of weighing stations for heavy vehicles which are suspected of over-loading are to be built by 2015 in a bid to further reduce the number of road accidents caused by trucks, the Department of Transport (DoT) announced on Monday.

Two of seven weighing stations are expected to be added to the four that already exist in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“These structures will be essential in overcoming the problem of over-loading that can cause several issues related to loss of control of vehicles, and can result in faster wear and tear of tyres. Additionally, roads themselves are affected by overloading and may need more maintenance in the long run,” Mohammad Al Otaiba, director of the freight division at the DoT, said.

The stations will be equipped with two weights: a high-speed weighing system embedded in the road before the station which will detect overloading and a low-speed weighing system at the station itself.

“Vehicles suspected of carrying goods above the allowed weight, which is currently unspecified, will be directed using traffic lights to the station where they will be reweighed for accuracy. The high-speed system has an inaccuracy of 10 per cent while the ones inside the station are able to read more truthfully,” an official source at the DoT said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Interior, deaths due to heavy vehicle accidents have gone down from 19 per every 100,000 individuals to 11 per 100,000 as of last year.

Freight transport

The DoT has also unveiled plans to diversify in the fields of freight transport into land, sea and flight in addition to using the Etihad Rail, which will be used to carry large amounts of sensitive or highly flammable goods.

The Etihad Rail is set to open during the first quarter of this year, and will be operated by two drivers. It will begin by transporting sulphur to the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD).

Experts at the DoT’s aviation freight transport department told Gulf News that extra space located within passenger aircrafts may be used to ship valuables such as jewellery or perishable materials such as food.

“All in all, our multi-modal Freight Master Plan [FMP] is intended on providing three main benefits on the social, environmental and the economical scale. Socially, roads will become safer when the number of trucks decreases. Environmentally, carbon emissions will also go down providing a better quality of life for Abu Dhabi residents and of course, economically, a diversification of the freight field will bring a positive return on investment for Abu Dhabi,” Al Otaiba added.