M5 East overheight truck incident

14 November

M5 East overheight truck incident

An overheight truck hit the M5 East tunnel roof citybound about 40 metres into the tunnel at 8.04am this morning causing significant damage to overhead beams and fire systems and causing significant traffic delays.

Initial reports show the tipper and trailer combination extended and hit the ceiling while travelling.

The vehicle continued into the tunnel for 30-40 meters, dislodging beams and  sprinkler systems, with debris on the road surface.

Several signs are in place warning of fines and registration suspension for overheight vehicles entering the tunnel.

Police are investigating and have interviewed the driver to determine the cause of the incident.

Emergency services and Roads and Maritime vehicle inspectors are assessing the significant damage to the tunnel infrastructure. There have been no reported injuries to the driver or other motorists from the incident.

The tunnel is likely to remain closed for at least the rest of the day for engineers to continue assessing the damage to the tunnel before repair work is carried out.

Heavy vehicle assessors estimated the tipper body would need to be cut from the vehicle to prevent further damage to the tunnel roof.

Roads and Maritime heavy vehicle enforcement officers are working to determine the likely significant penalties applicable for the offence. The registration of the vehicle will immediately be suspended for three months.

Other people in the chain of responsibility may also face charges attracting $27,500 fines for the first offence and $55,000 per offence for second and subsequent offences.

Operators may also face compensatory damages such as the successful prosecution of two companies who were ordered to pay $1.4 million for damage to the Maitland Pedestrian Bridge.

At 9.28am heavy vehicle assessors estimated the tipper body would need to be cut from the vehicle to prevent further damage to the tunnel roof.

Roads and Maritime will continue to work with NSW Police and other emergency services.

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