The State Government has moved further to deregulate the State's road transport system through dropping major restrictions on road trains.
Transport Minister Pam Beggs said the plan involved eliminating the restrictions on the commodities road trains could carry on the main road train routes along Albany Highway, Great Eastern Highway and the Moora-Dongara Road.
It would not involve changing the network of roads available to road trains.
Mrs Beggs said until now, road trains were limited as to the commodity they could cart. For example, a road train carrying livestock to market could not backload with another commodity.
"The restriction policy has outlived its usefulness and is merely increasing road transport costs to centres such as Esperance and Albany," she said.
"The new policy is a major step forward in ensuring the benefits of reforms in the transport sector result in greater competition between road and rail and within the road transport industry leading to potentially lower costs."
Mrs Beggs said the new policy recognised safety and community values as the main limitations on road trains. At the same time, it recognised the economic value of the vehicles in serving country communities.
The biggest impact of the change would be seen on Great Eastern Highway where road trains, which now were broken down in Coolgardie, would be able to go to Northam where they would be converted to normal semi-trailers.
"The Government recognises that this could increase the truck traffic in Northam and the Commonwealth would be approached to give priority to a Northam by-pass road under the National Highway Program," Mrs Beggs said.
"Main Roads and the Northam Town and Shire councils have been discussing possible by-pass routes. The concept is due to be released for public comment as part of the environmental impact assessment."
Mrs Beggs said the new policy was due to come into effect in early April next year.
This was to allow time for Main Roads to upgrade sections of Great Eastern Highway that had been affected by heavy winter rains.
It also would give Westrail time to plan to meet the increased competition expected from road trains on the highway.