Burnt truck to be removed from highway
Southbound traffic on State Highway 1 north of Wellington will be diverted at Churton Park tonight while the burnt out remains of a truck are taken away.
A NZ Transport Agency spokesman said the road will be closed at 8pm while the truck is removed and some damage is repaired, such as to road markings.
Traffic will be diverted at the Churton Park interchange. Motorists are asked to follow the diversion signs.
It is not known how long the work will take and the agency spokesman thanked the public for their patience.
The truck caught alight between the Wellington suburbs of Tawa and Johnsonville at about midnight last night, closing State Highway 1 north of Wellington.
The B-train Linfox truck was engulfed in flames by the time fire engines arrived..
The truck's driver made it out of the cab before the it fully caught alight, so was not injured.
A Linfox spokesman said the fire would go through a serious incident process, but there were still several steps to go through before a cause can be determined.
"The driver is fine, he was able to take appropriate action to get the vehicle off the road to ensure his own and other people's safety."
A witness to the fire said it was "pretty intense" and he heard a couple of small explosions before driving through plumes of smoke to get around the burning truck.
A Grenada Village resident, who did not want to be named but lives about 1km south of where the fire happened, heard screeching brakes but it wasn't until he smelled smoke that he got up to see what was happening.
He described it as "thick, black, choking smoke", and he has put sore throat and hayfever-like symptoms that both he and his wife have down to the smoke.
"My question is, what was on that truck? Because what I was breathing in wasn't just 16 sets of tyres."
A Linfox spokesperson said the company was not able to provide precise details of what was on the truck but would say there was nothing hazardous on it.
The incident caused some delays on southound lanes between 6am and 8am, but traffic is now at normal peak-hour levels.
The Dominion Post