11 May 2016

Tempers flare over log truck crashes

9:42 am on 11 May 2016

Emotions boiled over at a meeting last night to discuss a Whangerei road notorious for log truck crashes.

Residents at a public meeting on the number of log truck accidents on Otaika Valley Road, Whangarei.

Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

About 150 people turned out for the public meeting to voice their frustration after five log trucks rolled in a month on Otaika Valley Road.

Residents voted to seek an urgent meeting with the Transport Agency agency to discuss how to make the road safer, and to demand a speed restriction on all trucks.

Log truck drivers had been warned to stay away from the meeting, while one of the organisers said some truckies had been threatening, on social media, to disrupt the meeting.

From 1 July, the Transport Agency will take over Otaika Valley Road and Mangakahia Road and turn them into State Highway 15 - a designated inland freight route.

The agency's Whangarei manager, Jacqui Hori-Hoult, said the agency was focusing on getting contractors organised to do maintenance work on the route.

Transport Agency Whangarei director Jacqui Hori-Hoult.

Transport Agency Whangarei director Jacqui Hori-Hoult. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

"Then we'll start looking at the bigger picture of what [a safer road] can look like for our community."

Ms Hori Hoult could not say whether that might mean straightening dozens of bends, some of which have speed advisory signs as low as 35 km/h.

One speaker at last night's meeting noted property values on the route had dropped while elsewhere in Whangarei they have risen.

A recent log truck rollover in the same spot on Otaika Valley Road.

Five log trucks rolled on Otaika Valley Road in a month. Photo: Supplied