Evening peak-time traffic was diverted for more than two hours on Auckland's Northwestern Motorway yesterday after a truck leaked a 3km trail of paint.

A Mainfreight truck left a line of light blue paint from St Lukes to Spaghetti Junction, where the motorway joins State Highway 1. It was brought to a stop at the busy junction shortly before 5.30pm.

Traffic was diverted while the paint spill was cleared, creating severe congestion at Grafton where southbound commuters were forced to re-enter the highway.

New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland spokesman Ewart Barnsley said the incident did not cause as much trouble as might have been expected at that time of day.


"It had very little impact on the rush hour," he said. "We had the ability to divert traffic down Grafton gully and back on to the Southern Motorway, which took pressure off the network."

Police managed traffic while the Fire Service cleaned up the paint, believed to be up to 1000 litres.

Aucklander Nathan Berg filmed the incident.

"It was quite interesting. There was a big line of paint going from the St Lukes on-ramp all the way to where the truck had stopped.

"Where it had stopped there was a massive puddle of light blue paint where it had poured out of the truck. It was basically the same colour as the truck."

Automobile Association principal adviser Barney Irvine said none of its members had complained about the incident.