A Goonellabah Hazmat team dowsing the smouldering trailer of the B-double yesterday morning north of Wardell.
A Goonellabah Hazmat team dowsing the smouldering trailer of the B-double yesterday morning north of Wardell. Doug Eaton

Another victim of Pacific Highway

THE PACIFIC Highway north of Wardell was closed to one lane yesterday as emergency services worked throughout the day to clear yet another truck wreckage on the notorious stretch of road.

A northbound B-double carrying foodstuffs veered left off the road shortly before 5am destroying 100 metres of safety barrier before jack-knifing and rolling over and coming to rest on its side 500 metres north of Coolgardie Road.

The driver escaped with minor lacerations and was taken to Ballina Hospital for treatment.

The fire brigade extinguished a small fire and the Goonellabah Hazmat unit attended to contain a diesel spill.

Most of the cargo was destroyed by fire and smoke.

Sergeant Matt Kehoe, from Ballina police, said traffic delays were kept to a minimum thanks to the fast response of the Roads and Traffic Authority’s traffic management team.

“The RTA got out there early and managed the situation well,” he said.

“Both lanes were closed in the afternoon during the recovery of the vehicle.”

The northbound lane was reopened late yesterday.

At this stage no charges have been laid and Ballina police are investigating the cause of the crash.

It comes less than a week after the State Government excluded the Ballina-to-Grafton black spot from its reprioritisation of the Pacific Highway dual carriageway upgrade.

The State Government has come under sustained criticism recently for contributing only $500m to the project compared with the Federal Government’s $3.1 billion.

The NRMA estimate the project needs $6.7 billion to be completed.

The proposed sections for upgrade were: Hexham to Port Macquarie; north and south of Coffs Harbour; and Ballina to the border.

Pat Carney, president of the Wardell Progress Association, said the residents of Wardell were extremely disappointed their section had been put on the back burner to this extent again.

“We see an enormous number of these crashes, particularly B-doubles.

“It now looks like the upgrade will be well beyond 2014, and God knows what the traffic will be like then."

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