Friday, February 23, 2018

Tanker mishap causes massive traffic jam


CRUDE CRASH: A fire officer looks at the smashed truck carrying crude oil that collided with a Toyota Vigo Hilux, yesterday, on the Uriah Butler Highway close to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. As a result of the accident, the Minister of Works along with the Minister of National Security, the acting Commissioner of Police and the commander of the National Operations Centre (NOC) collectively advised that the Priority Bus Route be opened to all east-bound traffic in the evening. The opening of the PBR was to alleviate the back-up due to the impact of the accident which took place in the morning. —Photo: MARK BASSANT

Mark Fraser

IT WAS a traffic nightmare yesterday for motorists using the major roads between South and North Trinidad as they were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for some five hours after a tanker carrying crude oil crashed into a vehicle and overturned along the Uriah Butler Highway (UBH) near Caroni.

The collision occurred at around 10.30 a.m. and commuters along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, UBH, and Churchill-Roosevelt Highway were caught in almost standstill traffic during peak hours as authorities struggled to clean up and remove the wrecks.

Police said the tanker truck, driven by Rajendra Maharaj, of Mendez Village, Siparia, was proceeding north along the middle of the three-lane highway when in the vicinity of Guayamare, a tyre to the front of the truck blew out.

The truck slid into the right lane and collided with a Toyota Vigo Hilux, driven by Nazir Mohammed, of Valsayn.

The truck overturned and came to a stop across the south-bound lanes, the Express was told.

Maharaj was said to be seriously injured, and was taken to hospital for treatment. Mohammed and his passenger were also taken to hospital.

Police officers of the Highway Patrol Unit in Freeport and officers of the Chaguanas Police Station responded and cordoned off the crash site, directing motorists to use the shoulder to keep traffic moving.

And as motorists along the north-bound lane stopped or slowed to capture images of the crashed vehicles, police officers distributed 25 tickets to offenders using a hand-held device whilst driving.

Officers of the Chaguanas Fire Station were called in to clean the roadway.

Traffic remained gridlocked until around 1 p.m. when two tow trucks wrecked the vehicles away from the scene and to the Chaguanas Police Station.

Social network users on Facebook and Twitter reported being stuck in traffic as far as the Beetham Highway until well after 2 p.m.