Fallen trees block SH1 in Tawa

02:37, Jan 15 2013
Trees
Several large fallen trees have blocked both northbound lanes of State Highway 1 opposite Tawa College.
Trees 2
Motorists are driving across the grass to get around the trees.

The motorway north of Wellington is now clear of fallen trees after lengthy traffic delays for evening commuters.

Earlier today, cars were backed up from the State Highway 1 off-ramp at Tawa past the Ngauranga Gorge interchange, delaying rush hour motorists on both SH1 and SH2.

The delay was caused when four large pine trees fell on to the motorway opposite Tawa College just before 3.30pm blocking both northbound lanes.

Tawa trees
Trees block northbound lanes of State Highway 1 in Tawa.

Cars had been driving on to the grass verge to get around them until a single lane was cleared about 4.30pm.

Both lanes were clear by about 6.30pm but it took some time for the traffic backlog to clear.

New Zealand Transport Agency Wellington operations manager Mark Owen said traffic was now flowing freely.

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It was thought high winds had caused the trees to fall.

‘‘We thank motorists for their patience and understanding during these frustrating delays," Owen said.

Waikanae painter Les McMillan had a lucky escape when one of the trees fell on to the front of his van and went through his windscreen.

He walked away unscathed and told 3News he would go buy a lotto ticket.

‘‘I didn’t have time to be scared. It just happened so quick,’’ he said.

The Dominion Post