Tanker crash on SH2 causes delays
How long were you delayed getting to work today?
The crash which caused several hours of delays for motorists and rail commuters happened after a tanker driver stopped to help a car crash victim.
Two crashes on State Highway 2 cut the Hutt Valley off from Wellington this morning.
The CEO of the company that owns the fuel tanker said his Palmerston North-based driver stopped after seeing a northbound car crashing in to a power pole on the opposite side of the highway.
Andy Stanley, of Hooker Pacific Fuel Haul, said the driver pulled over to the side of the highway 'put his hazard lights on' and crossed the four lanes to assist the accident victim.
While the tanker driver was assisting the victim a fruit and vegetable truck driver clipped the right rear of the tanker’s trailer.
The rear-end impact resulted in a 5700 litre diesel fuel leak from the rear of the trailer spewing out on to the highway.
Wellington Free Ambulance transported the car driver, who suffered serious injuries, to Hutt Hospital.
The accident closed both lanes of the highway and they reopened about 9.15am, though at 11am motorists were still facing delays.
The cycle lane through to Ngauranga will remain closed until tomorrow morning. Cyclists should use SH2 with caution.
Rail services were also affected as emergency services staff told KiwiRail to shut down the nearby rail line due to the diesel spill.
Hutt Valley, Melling and Wairarapa train services were stopped and did not start again until 8am.
Hundreds of people were stranded at railway stations in the Hutt Valley.
Motorists had to use State Highway 58 over the Haywards Hill to get to and from the Hutt Valley.
NZTA Wellington operations manager Mark Owen says he was grateful to motorists for their patience.
"We appreciate these delays have been an almighty headache."
STATE HIGHWAY 1 DELAYS
There was also congestion round the Paremata Bridge with traffic from the Hutt Valley coming over the Haywards Hill merging on to State Highway 1.
Also, a car that broke down on the motorway between Porirua and Johnsonville caused delays.
PASSENGERS FLOCK TO FERRIES
East by West Ferry manager Jeremy Ward said there at least three times as many people than usual used the ferry this morning.
There had been two extra sailings and people had to be left behind.
Eastbourne resident Ben Waitt thought he would beat traffic congestion on the motorway by taking the East-West ferry from Days Bay.
But many others in the Eastbourne Bays appeared had the same idea, he said.
"It's a nightmare. The queue was back to the main road, to the [pedestrian] crossing there. There's usually about 20 or 30 people getting on, but this time there would have been about 120 people."
He said around 90 people had been let on the first ferry while he and the rest of the queue had been made to wait for the next one.
BUS SERVICES AFFECTED
Bus services to and from Eastbourne and the Airport Flyer were also not running because of the accident.
The 81, 83 and 91 Airport Flyer buses did not run.
MP MISSES TV INTERVIEW
Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins was stuck in the gridlocked traffic this morning and would miss a television interview as a result.
He said it had taken him about an hour to get from Petone to Horokiwi, a distance which would normally take a couple of minutes.
"People seem resigned to it. We are travelling at about 5km per hour but it's been stationary for a large chunk of it. These things happen."
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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