THE truck that blocked traffic in Grafton yesterday.
THE truck that blocked traffic in Grafton yesterday. Debrah Novak

The truck stops here

A PEAK-HOUR traffic jam yesterday involving hundreds of cars travelling north toward Grafton Bridge could have been avoided if a broken-down truck had been towed earlier.

The Road Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed it was notified of a broken-down prime mover blocking traffic on Bent Street, South Grafton, at 6.40am.

But according to Grafton heavy haulage towing operator, Sam Campbell, he didn't get the call to tow the truck until 9am - more than two hours later.

Mr Campbell said once called he was there in just 15 minutes. Having towed trucks regularly in the Grafton region, he described yesterday's towing as “just a routine job”.

The situation caused mayhem for drivers, however. Cars were forced into one lane instead of the usual two, causing many people to be late for school and work.

An RTA spokesperson said it was not responsible for calling a tow truck, instead laying blame for the delay on police and the driver.

The truck - which belongs to an owner/operator - is being repaired by Grafton Diesel Repair.

Repair shop owner Barry Yager said the driver called him about 6.40am and he advised him to call a tow company. But the driver didn't want to pay for a tow truck, he said, instead asking for it to be repaired on the road.

The truck was blocking the north-bound outside lane of Bent Street and half of the inside lane until about 9.45am.

Whiteman Creek man Paul Bagnall said he was returning from Glenreagh at 8am when he saw the truck and a line of cars stopped behind it.

Concerned about safety, he started directing traffic around the truck along with a group of council maintenance workers.

He said none of them had traffic control training, but managed to set-up a detour and keep traffic flowing.

“By that stage, cars were already backed-up on the Pacific Highway,” he said.

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