COMMUTERS faced traffic chaos when a busy dual carriageway was closed for more than four hours after a lorry smashed through a 300ft length of central reservation barriers.
The Scania lorry was travelling north-bound on the A19 when the smash happened close to the A689 turn-off for Hartlepool at around 5.15am yesterday.
Both lanes of the southbound carriageway of the A19 were closed at the point of the crash, which caused rush-hour traffic chaos for drivers travelling to work.
Motorists leaving Hartlepool, or those travelling southbound on the A19, were left having to try to get to their destinations via Billingham, or through Hartlepool on the A689 or the A178 towards Seal Sands.
This had a knock-on effect throughout Hartlepool with tail-backed traffic becoming grid-locked in places or moving very slowly.
Those driving into town on the A689 towards the Owton Manor Lodge had at least 15 minute delays due to a build up of traffic trying to get along Seaton Lane and towards Brenda Road.
Huge queues of traffic were also reported along the The Front, in Seaton Carew, due to the extra vehicles trying to head south along the Seal Sands Road.
The amount of cars on town centre roads also appeared to be increased and moving more slowly than usual.
Tailbacks on the A19 stretched as back as far as the A181 Castle Eden turn-off, while the Highways Agency cleared the carriageway.
The lorry driver was said to be shaken but not injured, say police, and the southbound carriageway re-opened just after 9.30am.
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “A heavy goods vehicle crashed right through the barriers as it travelled north on the A19 at around 5.15am yesterday.
“It took out about 300ft of barrier and the southbound carriageway of the A19 was closed.
“There were huge traffic problems as a result, as people had to try to get to their destinations by travelling through Hartlepool and Billingham.”
l POLICE closed a Hartlepool road after an incident involving a motorcyclist.
Huckelhoven Way, in Hartlepool, was shut after the rider of the motorbike fell from his bike and suffered a laceration to his head.
Police were called to the incident at around 3pm on Tuesday and the rider of the bike is said to be “walking wounded”.
A police spokeswoman said: “The rider came off the motorcycle when he came around a bend to try to avoid a collision.
“He suffered a minor head injury.”