Logging truck trailer crashes into harbour

A logging truck lost its trailer which crashed through a barrier and into Blanket Bay early this morning. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
A logging truck lost its trailer which crashed through a barrier and into Blanket Bay early this morning. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
A section of State Highway 88 near Port Chalmers was closed from 11am while the trailer of a logging truck was removed from Otago Harbour.

Light traffic was diverted on to Blanket Bay Rd, but all other traffic stopped while the recovery took place.

It was expected the highway would be closed for about half an hour, then partially opened.

The trailer smashed through a safety barrier and into the harbour this morning. 

Nobody was hurt in the accident, which happened at 6.30am.

A logging truck crash on the same stretch of road in March last year provoked debate after residents said the road was unsafe.


Log trucks versus rail

Roadwarrior: My mistake. I should have clarified that I meant a total gross vehicle mass of 53 tonnes, which equates to 36 tonnes of logs, which means 48 trucks or 1 train. I do not know if any log trucks are carrying the maximum now permitted over this stretch of highway yet, but the potential is there.

Cakmo: How many log trucks have you seen being issued a ticket by a mufti cop between Dunedin and Roseneath? Like many other road users I am well aware of mufti police cars. It's pretty hard to disguise the windscreen flashers as disability cards!

A few more points

Cakmo: Well written thank you. The numbers are 15000 LOG trucks per annum, not including container trucks, the dairy product and woodchip trucks or buses. Perhaps cakmo could comment on car behaviour on this road too. I find it shocking in general. Just to show it goes both ways!

TheWatcher: Check your numbers on what trucks can carry and what the GVM actually is. By my reckoning a fully laden log truck can carry around 27 tonnes of logs, not 53 as you state. Thats 27 tonnes of logs plus a 17 tonne truck tare up to a Gross Vehicle Mass of 44 tonnes. I'm not sure if they have the new heavy longer type on this road yet? They need special permits and must travel a specific approved route, and they can have a GVM of up to 53T. Cakmo can correct me on this if I'm wrong. It will make your numbers even better!

Law of averages

Most importantly as everyone seems to have done here,  let's not forget the cyclist who was squashed under a log truck last year in front of the railway station at the terrible intersection there (Anzac Ave into One Way).

As a lifelong resident of the area surrouding Port Chalmers, I really can't fathom how no one has been killed/maimed/crippled by a heavy vehicle (who has been at fault). It seems every time one of these guys gets it wrong and crashes, miraculously there's no one coming the other way! How long can this last? - Every time the odds get worse!

As I said to my wife as we drove past the wreckage yesterday, there wouldn't have been much left of a car had it been in the path of that trailer.

I'm not sure what it is about the log trucks, but there seems to me to be a few 'cowboys' in their lot. It wouldn't be that hard for some unmarked cars to do some really good blitzes on the road - short duration and often, to stop the word going round on the trucks radios.

SH88 is really no longer fit for purpose, it is long overdue that a new, safer road beside the railway line to Port was built or failing that, a total rebuild of the existing road - especially the corners. When it was redone about 15 years ago, it was an easy 100km/h drive. Now the speed limit's 80 and it's a struggle to take some of the corners at that speed due to the state of the road - slumping, off cambers and chewed out seal.


Over the hill

Why do logging trucks go by Three Mile Hill? Cant they take the Fairfield straight onto the Motorway?

Logging traffic

To the comment that the Roseneath resident has never seen a police car checking speed , I would suggest you start looking at examples of Holden Commodores as you may then be surprised at the amount of mufti police cars on this stretch of road. Perhaps the lack of tickets suggests that the problem lies more with the letter writer's perception than the reality,.

15,000 trucks a year and the other 14999 have made it through safely. .As a heavy vehicle operator of 22 years experience with at least 15 on the port road on a regular basis I can honestly say that I have seen many cars in the water and this is the first truck!

It is not good that it has happened, frightening in fact but if the authors of these notes have been sitting with me on several occasions watching cars go around cyclists on blind corners you may change your opinions on where the dangers lie. Log trucks scare people it can`t be denied , but in fact they are far safer than the naysayers suggest.How many logs do you see sitting on the side of the road, How many containers are left sitting in the middle of the road? Especially when you consider 15000 heavy vehicles on this road a year.


Through town is dangerous

Further to TheWatcher's comment it needs to be reinforced these heavily laden truck and trailer units pass right through the centre of town. They rumble down Stuart Street, onto York Place and travel along St Andrew Street which crosses the main street. This seems to start around 6am.

One extremely dangerous turn is from Stuart onto York, which requires the driver to take the truck out wide and turn sharply to get it and the trailer around the corner. If they start the manoeuvre too quickly the trailer is pulled inwards, up and over the footpath where pedestrians stand.

This happened to myself and another when we were nearly wiped out by the trailer. The truck passed in front of us but its trailer suddenly swung up on the footpath and its rear wheels were over a metre onto it. We both had to leap backwards and watched in growing horror as the tyres passed by inches.

If it happened to me then it must be happening to others. Taking these trucks off the road in built-up areas and putting their loads on that available rail service should be given significant consideration.


Logs by rail

The question is: If a log marshalling/transfer location was set up on the Tairei Plain, surely transporting logs from there to Port Chalmers is the logical, safer transport method? Log trucks have clearly demonstrated they are unsafe to travel through Dunedin to Port Chalmers. What would be the advantage of rail transport? Fewer potentially fatal crashes by log trucks between Mosgiel and Port Chalmers. Less road damage by loaded log trucks. Less traffic congestion. A better traffic flow. A huge reduction in heavy traffic through the main street of Port Chalmers. A safer highway through the residential area of  Ravensbourne.A safer highway for cyclists. No log truck trash dropping onto the highway. Sure, there would be double handling due to off/on loading in the marshalling area. However, one train could comfortably carry over 1700 tonnes of logs compared with a loaded log truck at 53 tonnes. So one train can carry 32 log truck loads. When you add this to all the other listed advantages of rail transport, what are we waiting for?


Trucks on SH 88

The sooner more logs and containers are being transported to Port Chalmers by rail the better. With a good 80 cruise ships for 2012/2013 and their passengers added to the already volatile mix on this stretch of highway it is only a matter of time before lives are going to be lost. It beats me why nothing is done to improve safety. Surely the huge amount of RUC collected can easily pay for more safety features and controls.

Trucks on Port Chalmers road

And another log truck crashes on the road to Port Chalmers. Will someone in authority please answer this: how many speeding tickets were issued to large trucks on State Highway 88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers in the past 12 months? In the past 5 years? Of those trucks cited, how many tickets were issued using the speed monitoring camera, and how many via a police officer? I would guess that virtually all of them (if any) would have been issued via the speed camera. In the past several years I have never seen a truck pulled over by a patrol car, though I have seen many cars stopped and cited. They seem to turn a blind eye to truck traffic on this road. 

And regardless of their speed, the sheer numbers of trucks ( 15,000 trucks per year, according to the ODT, coupled with huge numbers carrying freight to and from the port, renders the road horribly unsafe, and the good work being done by the roading crews seems pitiful, because it is so quickly undone by these large vehicles. The road simply isn't designed for this type of traffic. And right beside the road lies a perfectly good railroad, all but unused. What's wrong with this picture? I would urge the Otago Regional Transport Committee to back KiwiRail's plan to move freight and logs away from the highway and onto the railroad, a measure that will ensure saving of both money and, quite probably, lives. 

--john egenes, port chalmers

Log trucks

So once again a log truck crash on the Dunedin to Port Chalmers highway has managed to avoid a fatality. That makes two recent similar crashes probably caused through excessive speed for the curve on the highway, and possibly overloading of logs. As a resident of Roseneath who travels this stretch of highway twice daily, I cannot ever recall seeing a police radar checking the speed of vehicles. They check vehicle weights but not speeds. Logs loaded on the outside next to the stanchions are regularly seen to be above the stanchions even though this is expressly forbidden by the Dept of Labour. Will the next crash result in a fatality to another road-user? Watch this space!


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