20 Oct 2018

All-day traffic jam causing chaos for truckers

10:11 am on 20 October 2018

About 300 trucks remain queued bumper-to-bumper north of Welllington, following a crash earlier this morning.

The scene of the truck chemical spill.

The scene of the truck chemical spill. Photo: Supplied / Wellington Free Ambulance

State Highway 1 has been closed between Paekakariki and Grays Road at Mana all day after a truck carrying hazardous goods rolled shortly before 4am this morning, which has meant chaos for truckies and those travelling out of the capital for a holiday weekend break.

The road could be shut until late tonight.

Transport authorities said this morning's crash is one of the most unusual ones there has been in terms of its impact on traffic in and out of Wellington.

Friday has been bright and sunny in the capital - fine for those hanging out for the holiday weekend - not so good for truckies stuck in the sweltering heat with nowhere to go.

A welcome sight was a team from the Salvation Army who took muffins and water to the area earlier in the day.

Twan drove past the truck crash early on Friday morning on his way north, but became stuck in the traffic on his way back into the capital later in the day.

He said many drivers were becoming frustrated.

"They're not too happy. Everyone wants to go home with the long weekend, but what can you do?"

Another driver, Mark, said the crash showed the urgent need for the new Transmission Gully road, which is still a couple of years off completion.

"We heard round about 2 o'clock it'd be open, so I thought I'd take the risk and come down.

"I'm not as bad as some of these boys who have been here since 4 or 5am, but it's just part of the job. Like they said, the cars can get through but there's just no other way around for trucks."

He said the disruption will bring flow-on effects for freight nation-wide.

"All these trucks with loads on have to be somewhere. A lot of them work overnight, all these chilled units and frozen food units and that. They've got their chillers running but still, someone needs that stock."

Meanwhile, light vehicles can use the Paekakariki Hill Road as an alternative route in and out of the capital, but the New Zealand Transport Agency is warning motorists to be careful on what it describes as a "tight, torturous route".