Damaged tree disrupts busy highway

03:03, May 01 2010
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SPLIT APART: Wind wasn't blowing in Palmerston North yesterday, but but part of a tree along Pioneer Highway fell, blocking a lane for 20 minutes.

A Truck's rear end was crushed by a falling tree on Palmerston North's Pioneer Highway, blocking traffic for about 20 minutes.

A large branch of one of the plane trees which line the median strip on Pioneer Highway, fell between The Warehouse and Pioneer Highway New World yesterday morning.

Pedestrian Margaret Phillips-Ellis said the noise from the tree hitting the ground sounded like an explosion. "I was crossing the road when I heard it," she said.

"It was louder than you could imagine but that branch had been low for a while so it was only a matter of time until it came down."

Palmerston North Fire Station officer Bevan Clark said it looked as though the truck had hit the tree. "He must have hit it pretty hard for it to come down."

But truck company AFL Logistics Ltd spokesman said his driver had not hit the tree, it had simply fallen. The driver of the truck escaped unharmed.

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Palmerston North City Council roading manager Graeme Tong said the council hadn't yet found out why the tree limb fell.

He thought it had to have been hit by something. "It's a 400mm diameter branch so it's a pretty hefty limb."

He said the tree was now structurally unsafe.

"Sometime next week we will be removing the rest of the tree. We can assure people that it will be safe over the weekend."

Manawatu Standard