Overturned truck and its soapy cargo cause chaos on Town Hill

2010-10-22 00:00

YET another truck accident at the bottom of Town Hill in the early hours of yesterday morning disrupted Durban-bound traffic, causing massive traffic jams and delays for frustrated motorists.

Vehicles were backed up past Merrivale as a spill of a slippery, soapy substance forced traffic officials to close the road for 14 hours.

Clayton Hall of Joey’s Towing said the substance that spilled was a cleaning agent in barrels. He said the recovery took place at 9 am.

Colin Govender of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) said the accident happened in a Durban-bound lane near the Peter Brown off-ramp. “It happened at 2 am; the truck belonging to PG Carriers overturned; it was loaded with by-products for making soap.”

He said the trucker and his passenger were trapped in the truck, forcing the paramedics to use the jaws of life to extricate them. “Due to the seriousness of their injuries they were both taken to Northdale Hospital,” he said.

According to Govender the road had to be closed for 14 hours so that the substance could be cleaned thoroughly from the road surface.

“We had to be certain that the road was 100% safe and clear of the by-product before allowing traffic to travel,” he said.

Senior Inspector Alec Wylie of the SPCA said it was a difficult situation for all the animals that were trapped in the trucks for hours without water. “This is a major corridor for trucks carrying animals and unfortunately we were not able to help these animals because all the lanes were occupied by trucks,” he added.

Nor could the RTI officials help. Wylie said they cited the slippery road as the reason it had to be closed.

Hilton resident Robin Roberts said city traffic officials have much to learn from their Cape counterparts who control traffic on passes like Du Toit’s Kloof near Cape Town.

“On those passes the trucks are only allowed to travel in the left- hand lane, going up and down, so they move very slowly. They factor that into their journey time and so the time delay is planned.”

Roberts described Town Hill as “chaos” and “the wild West”.

“I travel up and down Town Hill three to four times a day and there are often trucks that have overturned or loads that slide off. If they are travelling behind many other trucks in the truck lane they cannot overturn because they are not travelling at speed.”

He said that coming up Town Hill at night has become dangerous as trucks travelling without a load overtake others, often in the fast lane. They often drive recklessly to get back to their bases in good time because they are incentivised by the loads they deliver. He complained that there are no traffic officers on Town Hill at night.



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