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Traffic gridlock

By Sasha Harrinanan Thursday, April 17 2014

click on pic to zoom in
"MAJOR ACCIDENT BUT NO ONE SERIOUSLY INJURED: A trailer truck belonging to API Pipeline Construction Limited, yesterday collided with a Toyota Hilux...

Thousands of motorists were yesterday trapped in miles of gridlock traffic along the Uriah Butler Highway (UBH), and major connecting roads, following yesterday’s mid-morning collision between a small trailer truck and a Toyota Hilux van.

It took nine hours (6.30 pm) for the truck to be removed from the scene while the van was towed away shortly before 1 pm. The Priority Bus Route (PBR) was eventually opened to all motorists late in the afternoon, when it became obvious to everyone that vehicles headed east and south were still stuck in traffic due to the on-going truck-removal exercise.

The gridlock began shortly after 9.30 am yesterday, in the vicinity of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, when motorists on the northbound lanes of the UBH, had to apply brakes to avoid hitting the truck, licence plate TCE 2643, which was in the middle of three lanes when it suddenly swerved to the right after one of its tyres blew.

The truck belonging to the Fyzabad-based API Pipeline Construction Limited, transporting water to a construction site along the Diego Martin Highway, collided with the Hilux, licence plate TCA 7191, which was parallel to it in the extreme right lane of the UBH.

Both vehicles crossed the grassy median before coming to a stop on the southbound lanes of the highway, prompting motorists on that side of the highway to also aapply their brakes. The truck landed on its left side and the impact left the cab in a crumpled mess, but miraculously, neither the driver, Rajindra Maharaj, and API’s on-board safety officer, Adrian Le Guerre, suffered any serious injuries.

One of their co-workers, speaking to Newsday on condition of anonymity yesterday evening, said, “One of Rajindra’s feet was trapped beneath the steering wheel in the accident, but he didn’t suffer any broken bones, or anything. In fact, he was discharged from the Chaguanas Health Facility (CHF) late in the afternoon and is now resting at home.”

The API employee also provided an update on Le Guerre’s condition, saying “Adrian was kept back because he needed to get an X-ray. He was complaining of chest pains, so I guess the doctors wanted to make sure he didn’t have any internal injuries.”

A police officer on the scene told Newsday the Hilux driver, Nazir Mohammed, was able to exit the van on his own. He complained about having neck pains, and was also taken to the CHF sometime after 10 am yesterday. Fire Sub Station Officer (FSSO) Henry Campbell, of the Chaguanas Fire Station, said his crew had to use the ‘‘Jaws of Life’’ at about 9.45 am to free Maharaj from the mangled cabin of the truck.

He also told Newsday all three southbound lanes of the UBH had to be closed off to on-coming traffic, while the crew used a “de-greaser to remove engine oil from the roadway.

It was leaking from the truck’s engine and chassis. We then used water to wash away residue.”

Officers from the Chaguanas Police Station are investigating the accident.

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