A man has died in one of two serious truck crashes that have closed roads in Timaru and Taranaki this morning.

A section of the Orari-Rangitata Highway near Timaru, where a truck and trailer unit crashed at about 8.30am, remained closed.

Police confirmed the male passenger of the truck had died.

Diversions were in place along State Highway 79 Rangitata-Orari Bridge Highway, then back to Winchester-Geraldine Rd - and the reverse for northbound motorists.


The serious crash unit was investigating and the matter would be referred to the coroner, police said.

The crash happened about the same time as a collision between two trucks at the intersection of SH3 and Lower Dudley Rd in Inglewood, south of New Plymouth.

One of the trucks involved in the crash was carrying transporter drums holding a hazardous chemical, a number of which have split on the road.

There were no injuries.

State Highway 3 was closed between Tawa St, Inglewood, and Durham Rd, Norfolk, while the spillages were cleaned up, with diversions in place.

Meanwhile, emergency services were attending to several oil spills on and near State Highway 3, Awahuri, between Palmerston North and Fielding.

Contractors were in the process of clearing up the area but motorists were urged to approach the area with caution; keep speeds down, increase following distances and buckle up.

Green Road and Awahuri Fielding Road were also affected by the spills.

The cause of spills is unclear at this stage.