Hopes of escaping the capital early for the long weekend have been dashed with State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast now not set to re-open before 8pm.
The NZTA said due to the dangerous materials spilled, extraction of the crashed truck and clearing of the lanes was a complex operation.
Motorists were being asked to delay all unnecessary travel.
Earlier, SH2 was completely blocked earlier today at Remutaka Hill after two trucks became stuck on a corner.
The road has since fully reopened in both directions but NZTA is asking motorists to expect delays as congestion eases.
A vehicle has also broken down on the Featherston side of the Remutaka Hill, blocking the road there.
NZTA is expected to provide an update on SH1 on the Kapiti Coast before 2pm.
SH1 is closed until further notice following an early morning truck crash near Pukerua Bay on the Kapiti Coast.
The truck and trailer unit carrying hazardous substances rolled on State Highway 1 north of Porirua, leaking chemicals on to the road and closing the road for most of the day.
NZTA Systems Manager Mark Owen said motorists need to appreciate that Paekakariki Hill Road is a tight, steep and windy road and people need to drive with caution, watch for oncoming traffic on the tight corners and also allow extra time for their travel.
“Holiday weekends are always busy and with the increase in traffic on the road and with this added road closure we are expecting more congestion and delays through this area.
“We ask motorists to consider delaying their travel and where possible, consider leaving once the road has reopened and the traffic is lighter.”
Once SH1 is open it will take some time to clear the truck from the road.
The highway is closed in both directions between Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton after the single-vehicle incident at 3.45am.
Police are warning the road could remain closed until late this afternoon.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) was seeking advice on how best to deal with the chemicals, a spokeswoman said.
The truck driver suffered minor injuries.
Witnesses said there was a large emergency service presence at the scene, with major detours in place.
The detour for the road closure on SH1 is via Paekākāriki Hill Rd but is only suitable for light vehicles.
Police said trucks were being stopped from travelling north and south on the detour.
Cars are u-turning at the roundabout near Palmers Garden Centre in Plimmerton.
Local resident Grant Patterson says the road up the coast was quiet.
“There are no cars on the road at all on the way to Pukerua Bay from what I can see and there are about 10 trucks jammed in at the weigh station.”
NZTA regional transport system manager Mark Owen said the incident was going to have a significant impact throughout this morning and probably the rest of the day.
“Obviously we are very conscious that lots of people want to head out of town for the long weekend so we’ll be working through the morning to work out what the plans are.”
Ian Lyall, the owner of Brentwood Transport Limited, a freight transport company based in Lower Hutt, managed to make it through to Wellington from Kapiti just before the road was closed this morning.
“I leave home around 3.15am so I was just in front of it.
“I got here which I’m quite lucky about I guess, I’m going to Australia today. My son’s still stuck in Paraparaumu but he’s going to jump on a train, get into town and I’ll pick him up.”
Lyall said it is a major inconvenience and he feels sorry for everyone sitting in the traffic.
“Plenty of headaches for people travelling away for the weekend I’d imagine. Unfortunately not good timing.”
Lyall said normally they would send one or two trucks up the Kapiti Coast, but today they were having to go over the Remutaka Hill Road and through Wairarapa instead.
“It has Palmerston North freight on it so it has to get there today. Will probably add about half an hour to the journey.”
The NZTA said it would provide its next update by 2pm.
The planned closure of Paekākāriki Hill Road has been cancelled for today and the road will remain open.
Owen said crews would work with truck drivers at both ends of the road closure.
“Typically we just stack them up and they’ll just have to wait until we get more advice about what the options are.”
The detour route had been scheduled to close today from midday until 9pm to keep holidaymakers safe.
That was due to the risk to drivers from both the steep, winding road and merging with holiday traffic on State Highway 1.
Owen said Paekākāriki Hill Rd was tight and torturous and not a highway.
He said motorists needed to be patient and careful.
“There are some fairly blind corners on that road and we want to try and keep the speeds down and keep that route open and safe for everyone that needs to use it.”
Summer is coming and its time to get the barbeque out for the traditional Kiwi feast.
Its also time to think about summer fire safety.
As the sun starts to shine, we also need to be aware of the power of the sun and how that can cause some fire safety issues around the home.
Take the following story that occurred this spring on a sunny Wellington day.
It was a beautiful spring day in Wellington, with the sun shining and the temperature hitting around 18 degrees.
A friend of mine came home to find her house full of smoke.
She had left a tea towel in a metal bowl on the windowsill, and this is what she came home to;
It would seem the heat of the day in the metal bowl has caused the tea towel to smoulder and possibly catch fire.
Thankfully there were no curtains above the bowl, but the heat did leave a burn on the wood of the window frame;
The house was fitted with smoke detectors, that appear to have activated as they batteries were dead when checked (now replaced), but the house is off the road, and during the day it seems no-body could hear them.
This is an event that could have resulted in much worse of an outcome.
Thankfully only very minor damage to the home and the loss of a tea towel were the only results.
So when thinking about fire safety, its not just the obvious that can cause a fire.
Sunlight on surfaces that absorb heat, light reflecting through a water bottle onto a surface, these small seemingly insignificant things can also be a risk.
Remember to install smoke detectors and test them, and if you hear a smoke alarm sounding, don’t be afraid to call 111 and have the Fire Brigade come and investigate.
A controlled burn done by Fire & Emergency NZ for television illustrates just how quickly a home can take light. – FIRE AND EMERGENCY NZ
You’ve heard the urban myths about domestic appliances bursting into flames and consuming their owner’s houses – but a quick look at the facts shows that the real culprit is likely to be the humans who use them.
Statistics from Fire & Emergency NZ show that in the last five years, 294 fires were caused by “failures to clean” (for example, forgetting to clean the lint out for your dryer), 284 fires were caused by people putting “combustible” things too close to the heater, and 258 were from the careless disposal of cigarettes, embers or ash. Unattended cooking still reigned supreme however, coming in at 893 occurrences.
We’re tired when we get home from work, we’re desperate to get warm, we get bored or distracted – we’re only human. It’s easy for the sensible precautions to go in the “too hard” basket.
If the principal advisor of fire risk management for the Auckland region, Mike Shaw, could drive any message home about fire safety and appliances, it would be simply to always read the instructions.
Here’s a common sense rundown for home appliances that Fire & Emergency NZ would like us to keep in mind.
It’s been said before and we’ll say it again – don’t leave your dryer running when you go out. – JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN
It’s simple – remove the lint from the dryer after every use, make sure the dryer is well ventilated and don’t turn it on and then go out.
Static electricity and build up of heat can cause dust, lint and chemical residue on clothing to catch fire.
If you’re a regular user of hair or massage oil, your towels can pose a particular fire risk.
“Over time the oils become impregnated into the fabric,” said Shaw. It doesn’t take much for these to catch light, especially if your dryer doesn’t have an automatic-off switch.
Stacking your dishwasher correctly really is an art – and an important safety measure.
A dishwasher bursting into flames seems like an oxymoron, but what this is most often caused by is poor stacking.
“If you load a small plastic lid into a large slot and it falls through the cage onto a heater element during the drying cycle, it will catch fire,” said Shaw.
When you are planning a kitchen, leave space around your microwave. – RESENE
The biggest problem with microwave fires, other than improper things being put inside (we all know cutlery is a no-no) is smothering the extractor fans.
“You need an area around the device,” said Shaw.
So if you’re building a new kitchen and intend on including a microwave, make sure to factor in enough space around it. In an existing kitchen, though tempting, don’t try to make it look cute by stacking with cookbooks or knick-knacks, it could be your undoing.
Toasters put out a lot of heat so if you store it in an enclosed area, pull it out into the open before use. – JACKIE MEIRING/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN
Obviously due to the nature of a toaster, there’s going to be a lot of hot air coming out the top. Don’t run your toaster inside a cupboard or underneath a shelf or bench.
Amelia Macandrew, Customer Relations Manager, AA Insurance, recommends playing it safe and keep your toaster turned off at the wall when you’re not using it.
“Turn off all non-essential electrical appliances at the wall before you go to bed or work,” she said.
DVD PLAYERS, SKY-BOXES AND GAME CONSOLES
Televisions and DVD players need room to ventilate so don’t stack things on them. – RESENE
Consider this just one more reason why playing Xbox all night is a bad idea. Extended use causes devices like this to heat up.
“Things like DVDplayers and sky-boxes have vents which shouldn’t be covered,” said Shaw.
Apply the microwave principles above and go to bed for goodness’ sake.
Hair dryers are quite a common cause of domestic fires.
A “very common” source of domestic fires is hair straighteners being accidentally left on and put down on a soft surface like carpet, a couch or a bed, said Shaw.
Make a habit of unplugging it from the wall when you’re done.
SLOW COOKERS AND OVENS
Slow cookers are handy and make delicious food, just make sure to use it correctly. – MARION VAN DIJK/STUFF
Shaw is a fan of slow cookers like many of us and said dangers with such a device will relate to how it is used. It’s fine to set and forget your slow cooker, but make sure that it is set up on a clear bench and not sitting on its own cord.
However tempting, it is not recommended that ovens are left on while you pop to the shops.
OIL COLUMN HEATERS AND ELECTRIC BLANKETS
Even if you have a thermostat, it’s not recommended that you leave your heater on when you’re asleep or out. – iSTOCK
Whilst perhaps the safest of heaters, Shaw does not recommend leaving your oil column heater on overnight or when you’re out, even if it has a thermostat.
When you are using it or any heating device, stick to the “heater-metre rule”.
“Keep furniture, clothing, curtains and toys a metre away from heaters and fireplaces,” said Macandrew. “[And] always turn off your electric blanket before getting into bed.”
PHONE AND COMPUTER CHARGERS
Charging devices need space to breathe. – 123RF
Phone chargers causing fires is another one that’s on us apparently. “It’s misuse,” said Shaw. “Anything that’s charging a battery gets warm.”
Leave your phone on a hard surface like a table when charging, and without anything on top of it. Do not put it in your bed or under your pillow.
“Think of a power cord like a hose with water going through,” said Shaw. “Don’t put, for example, a table leg on a computer power cord, it can cause a heat build up.”
Similarly, Shaw recommended being wary of plugging too many things into multi boards, or buying cheap versions that don’t have a surge switch. Macandrew agreed.
“During winter when a greater number of heating appliances are used, we recommend Kiwis take care not to overload or smother multi-boards and sockets to avoid overheating,” said Macandrew.
“Don’t overload multi-boards and always untangle appliance cords to make sure there’s no fraying.”
The man stood in borrowed shoes and yesterday’s clothes, and the woman sat wrapped in a blanket, crying, in a people-mover.
About 100 metres away, close enough to catch the faint whiff of smoke still pouring out of it, was their home.
A Paekākāriki house is ravaged by flames.
Whatever else they lost, the couple and their three-year-old daughter were still alive after facing a wall of smoke and flames in the darkness. It was hard to tell whether they should be devastated or relieved. They were both
The couple who lost everything on Wednesday morning in the Paekākāriki house fire have spoken about running through a maze of smoke and flames, and carrying their child to safety, on the Kāpiti Coast north of Wellington.
The aftermath of the house fire in Paekākāriki. with one of the homeowners being comforted in the foreground. – John Maxwell/Stuff
The woman, who did not wish to be named, spoke wrapped in a blanket, only a few hours after the fire in their two-storey, rimu weatherboard home on Wellington Rd at about 5am.
She said she “just heard something strange” that woke her from her sleep in a bedroom on the top storey of the house.
The woman looked out the front bedroom window and there were flames running up from the porch below.
Firefighters attempt to put out the fire at a Paekākāriki house.
She yelled out “fire” to her partner and grabbed their daughter.
Her partner ran to alert a guest staying overnight, who had just arrived on Tuesday from the Netherlands, and all four plunged downstairs into smoke, so thick and dark it blocked their way.
“Then you opened the lounge door but you couldn’t get through the lounge, so we tried to go the kitchen but you couldn’t get through the kitchen so we went out the back door. By the time we were on the second level, the top was already alight,” she said.
The rimu weatherboard home, built in the early 1900s, destroyed by fire in Paekākāriki. – John Maxwell/Stuff
Her partner stood nearby on the Beach Rd footpath, away from a tangle of fire hoses and fire service trucks dampening the smouldering remains,
The man said he felt sick. “It hasn’t really hit home yet either. I know I’m going to be numb for a long time.”
He said he helped get everyone outside and then tried to fight the flames with a garden house, but it was pointless.
Firefighters dampen the remains of the house fire in Paekākāriki. – John Maxwell/Stuff
Then the man saw the flames fanning out towards the wooden house next door, of a similar age, and he ran and pounded on their door.
“I said ‘you guys have got to get out, it’s heading your way’.”
He had never seen anything like the flames that engulfed his home.
“They were pushing me back. The garden hose: totally pointless. The heat from that fire was the most intense I’ve ever seen. It had a life of its own, it was a beast. I lost hope.”
They had lived in the house for about 12 years, and were close to completing an ongoing renovation.
“That’s one thing that hurts the most, it’s such a piece of history, and we’d just finished [renovating] the front room, as the final room.”
His mother and sister had arrived from Wainuiomata, bringing a pair of shoes for him so he at least had something to put on his feet.
“He’s wearing his brother-in-law’s shoes,” his mother said.
The man’s mother hugged him, crying. “Thank God you you all got out. I just thank God that everybody got out.”
The house was insured but not the contents, the man said. They did not know what caused the fire, but they had lost everything they owned.
The Paekākāriki village community was already rallying to help the family on Wednesday morning.
Kāpiti Coast deputy mayor Janet Holborow said the village would do anything it could to help the family, and they were shocked at the loss of the iconic weatherboard home.
“The family is devastated, they walked out with just the clothes they were wearing.”