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Truck carrying massive wind turbine blade topples over on SH45

A truck transporting the first giant turbine blade destined for use on a South Taranaki wind farm tipped on its side along State Highway 45 on Tuesday.

The 64 metre-long blade was one of two supposed to be taken from Port Taranaki in the early hours of the morning heading for the $227 million Waipipi Wind Farm being developed near Waverley by Tilt Renewables.

While police were alerted to the incident, near the intersection of the SH45 and Hampton Rd, just before 8am on Tuesday Okato residents claimed it happened between 6am and 6.30am.

A police media spokeswoman said contractors were on their way to the scene to lift the truck.

A truck transporting a wind turbine blade for the Waipipi Wind Farm in Waverley tipped over on State Highway 45, just south of Okato.

The highway is currently reduced to one lane with stop-go traffic management in place.

Powerco has cut the electricity supply to 33 customers in the area so the truck and its cargo could be safely removed from underneath the powerlines. It’s estimated power will be restored by 2pm.

Tilt Renewables executive general manager renewable developments Clayton Delarter said the driver was shaken but had escaped uninjured.

Delarter confirmed it was the first of 93 blades and a large number of other components that would be transported to the site.

“It appears for whatever reason the truck has slid a little.

“I can’t say too much until we get a more detailed picture of what has happened.”

Delarter said there didn’t appear to be any significant damage to the fibreglass blade, which would be loaded on to a second trailer and taken to the site where further tests would be carried out.

An investigation would be carried out to determine what had caused the truck to tip and remove any risk of it happening again, he said.

“It’s not going to change the fundamental traffic route that we take.”

Bruce Sim said he heard a “bloody loud” noise and when he went to investigate discovered the truck on its side on the highway.

“I don’t know what happened, whether it slid or what.”

Bruce King said he passed the over-turned truck on his way to New Plymouth about 6.30am.

“It was still dark and you couldn’t really see much,” King said.

A nearby resident, who wouldn’t be named, said she was woken by the sound of a massive thud.

“It left like the start of an earthquake but it was that quick, it was just a shudder.”

A spokesman for the company transporting the blades, PTS Logistics Ltd, said he could not comment about the crash and directed all inquiries to Tilt Renewables.

Previously, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) warned motorists of delays on Tuesday morning due to the transportation of two 64-metre long blades.

The truck was carrying one of the wind turbines from Port Taranaki.

The NZTA advisory said the truck was meant to leave the port at 3am and arrive at Waipipi by 8am, heading south through New Plymouth and then onto State Highway 45.

Other wind farm components will continue to be transported on a daily basis through to October, NZTA system manager Ross I’Anson said in the written statement.