Cars and trucks were backed up for kilometres on State
Highway 3 between Wanganui and Waverley after a truck
overturned yesterday morning.
The accident happened about 6.30am, when the truck, towing
two trailers and heading for New Plymouth, overturned at
Nukumaru, just short of Tauranga Ika Marae.
The driver appeared unhurt, but was taken to Hawera Hospital
for a checkup, according to Sergeant Andy Anderson of the
Ohakea commercial vehicle investigation unit.
The truck was carrying soda ash, also known as washing soda,
a chemical with industrial uses. Some of it spilt out on the
road but much of the load was intact.
The truck's windscreen was broken, diesel was leaking from
its engine and it was further damaged while being righted.
The most likely cause of the accident was driver fatigue, Mr
Anderson said. There was nothing untoward about road
He had checked the logbook and said the driver was on his
first day back at work after three days off. He had driven
from Hamilton to Palmerston North, swapped trailers and was
on the way to New Plymouth. The truck was not overloaded, and
the load well secured.
Emergency workers were able to divert traffic around the
truck using a marae's driveway, a paddock and Pakaraka Rd.
But it was a slow, one-way diversion over soft ground.
"It's unfortunate that with trucks and the nature of New
Zealand roads, when they turn over there are often limited
diversion opportunities," Mr Anderson said.
Clearing the road took until around noon. A heavy-duty
Palmerston North tow truck and an Emmetts crane from Wanganui
were there for the job.
- By Laurel Stowell of the Wanganui Chronicle