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A696 near Otterburn closed after turbine transporter crash

A GIANT transporter carrying wind turbine components has closed a Northumberland road after crashing into a ditch.

Wind turbine transporter in a ditch off the A696 south of Otterburn

A GIANT transporter carrying wind turbine components has closed a Northumberland road after crashing into a ditch.

The surface of the A696 south of Otterburn was damaged as the turbine parts tumbled off the vehicle and on to adjoining land. It is believed the wheels had clipped the kerb just north of Ottercopse, toppling the transporter into the ditch.

The driver was uninjured.

But locals have voiced concerns at such sizeable vehicles carrying loads through an area where even the A-roads have tight bends.

John Hartshorne, chair of Otterburn parish council, said: “It is a major concern – if something is going to cause hazard or damage, then that needs to be addressed.”

The transporter, which was travelling north, is believed to have been destined for the Green Rigg windfarm site near Ridsdale.

Richard Simmance, of the Middle Hill Action Group fighting against a planned windfarm at Elsdon, said the crash called into question the safety of the remote Northumbrian roads for such loads.

He said: “This goes to show that the roads in many parts of Northumberland – and this is one of the main arterial roads through the county – are unsuitable for such large transports.

“Maybe the appropriateness of approach roads should be part of the planning process in approving these turbine sites.” The A696 was branded the most dangerous road in Northumberland some years ago by the AA and one of the 10 most dangerous in the country.

The transporter came off the road at 6am yesterday just south of Ravenscleugh Farm and traffic backlogged for several hours before the road was fully closed and diversions were put in place.

Last night Northumbria Police said: “The lorry which was carrying wind turbine parts shed its load on to the road and due to the size and weight of the load the road will be closed for up to two days to allow for it to be safely removed.”

Diversions are in place, with northbound traffic diverted at Kirkhall over the A68, and southbound traffic going off at South Elishaw, also over the A68. The accident scene is a well-known hazard locally, with a steep hill culminating in a sharp bend coming past Blaxter.

Coun Hartshorne added: “It’s a particularly difficult curve with a funny camber on it.”

Anne Hedley, of Monkridge Hall, close to the accident scene, said: “Last Thursday a vehicle carrying parts just skimmed my wall and on Friday they had two blades that they couldn’t shift on the back of the wagon because a piece of equipment had fused.

“At one point a wagon was over my stone wall – though thankfully there was no damage.”

After yesterday’s accident, she added: “I can’t believe we will only get one of these large vehicles coming up this road. It is not suitable for such loads.”

 

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