Safety probe at site of crash

By Sonya Bateson

The crash scene on Pyes Pa Rd.
The crash scene on Pyes Pa Rd.

Transport authorities have been investigating ways to improve the safety of the road where a dramatic crash between a ute and a logging truck happened this week, it has been revealed.

The ute clipped the side of a logging truck on Pyes Pa Rd near the intersection of Taumata Rd, flew through the air and smashed into a second logging truck. The driver of the ute is still in intensive care.

NZ Transport Agency highways manager Brett Gliddon yesterday told the Bay of Plenty Times there had been 27 reported crashes near the intersection between 2001 to 2011.

The agency had been investigating options to improve the safety of the Taumata Rd/State Highway 36 intersection since 2007, he said.

The majority of the land required to make any improvements was owned by Tauranga City Council, he said.

Local hapu Ngai Tamarawaho and whanau own an urupa (burial site) opposite the intersection.

Mr Gliddon said there was ongoing consultation with the hapu and the council regarding land purchase and the impact of any large scale physical works near the urupa. Once a resolution had been reached, funding approval was required.

Sergeant Mike Owen said the ute driver was still awaiting multiple surgeries. Mr Owen said until he was better, the police would not be able to interview the driver to determine whether any charges will be laid. Ian Graham, the driver of the second logging truck, said the accident would put him out of work for six weeks.

"I'm pretty sore today," he told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday. "I didn't get home until about 10pm last night.

"I had to get all the wood loaded on to another truck, then went to Rotorua Hospital. I didn't notice how bad it was until I started cooling down."

The damage to Mr Graham's truck appeared to be significant.

"It's pretty bad, the cab has to come off it, who knows what's happened underneath that.

" ... I've got to try and find a way to make some money, it's not going to be an easy Christmas."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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