Crashes disrupt Wellington road, rail, ferries
Two crashes on State Highway 2 cut the Hutt Valley off from Wellington this morning.
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The crash closed the highway and diesel from the accident closed the rail line.
Motorists and rail commuters faced delays of several hours trying to get into Wellington.
The chaos started about 5.30am.
The first accident happened in the northbound lane when a car crashed into a power pole.
Wellington Free Ambulance transported the driver to Hutt Hospital in a serious condition.
The second crash involved a fuel tanker and a vegetable truck in the southbound lane.
One of the truck drivers was treated at the scene.
The accident closed both lanes of the highway and they reopened about 9.15am, though at 11am motorist were still facing delays.
The crash caused diesel to spill on the road and emergency services staff told KiwiRail to shut down the nearby rail line.
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.
The Hooker Pacific fuel tanker had been moved to an area just north of the Ngauranga interchange.
The tanker and trailer unit had damage to its back right-hand side and the right rear tyre was blown off.
The tanker driver declined to comment.
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 this morning 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.
The Dominion Post