Truck catches alight, slows traffic

2010-04-08 00:00

TRAFFIC was disrupted for several hours yesterday when the Chota Motala Road off-ramp was closed after the tyres of a truck with a load of sunflower seeds caught fire.

The truck, which had set off from Odendaalsrus in the Free State, caught alight in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Firefighters tried to extinguish the flames throughout the morning.

The driver of the vehicle, Daniel Matshuwa, said he was not sure why the truck’s tyres had burst into flames.

“I can’t say, but it was raining. When I looked in the rear-view mirror, I saw flames. So I stopped here,” said Matshuwa.

“I tried to extinguish it, but nothing worked.”

The station officer at Msunduzi fire department, Dumisane Mdladla, was on the scene when The Witness arrived.

Mdladla said: “Looking at the inside of the truck, the aluminium had burnt so the flames must have been very hot.”

According to the senior controller at the fire department, the brakes of the truck had ignited, causing the rear tyres to catch alight.

However, Superintendent Khumalo of the Msunduzi traffic department said he was told the propeller shaft of the truck had come off.

Firefighters and Hazmat cleaners worked to clear the scene, transferring the sunflower seeds to another truck.

As a result of the incident, some sections of the N3 highway were reduced to only two lanes, and just one lane in some places.

Traffic on the N3 near the city became congested later in the day. At 1 pm, a red Peugeot was allegedly rear-ended just before the New England Road off-ramp.

Some vehicles then apparently u-turned up the Ohrtmann Road on-ramp to avoid the congestion.

However, according to Superintendent Khumalo, “the N3 is designed in a way that vehicles cannot do that, with the exception of 4x4s”.

The Market Road, Alan Paton and New England Road off-ramps were completely congested as vehicles left the CBD.

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