The accident took place near the roundabout used by the majority of traffic to and through Haverfordwest from the south of Pembrokeshire. The impact of the two vehicles ruptured the fuel tanker and caused an estimated 4,000 litres of diesel to spill on to the carriage way.
Disruption also took place to morning rail services between Milford Haven and Haverfordwest.
Travelling to Haverfordwest at the time of the accident was hospital car volunteer Christopher Shields, ‘It was about 6.35 in the morning and I was bringing patients to Withybush. I was behind a black car and a Calor gas pick-up.
‘I was just behind the stationary tanker when the crane came out of the joining road and poked it with his jib. The jib burst the tank open. Fuel gushed out all over Merlin’s Bridge. I did not know whether it was petrol or diesel.
‘The black car in front of me, steered round the collision and shot off through the lights. The Calor gas driver got out and signalled everyone to get clear. I made a pretty quick U-turn and headed down the Old Hakin Road.
Joked Chris, ‘If it had exploded, the burgers in MacDonald’s would have been well done. And so would I.’
Speaking to the Herald, one local resident told us that the road layout of the junction where the accident happened was far from ideal. ‘It looked as though both vehicles were on their own right sides of the road, but there simply wasn’t enough room for both of them.’
Heavy goods vehicles heading for Milford Haven from the east were diverted to the A477 and the Cleddau Bridge crossing.
Specialist equipment was used to remove the damaged vehicles and to mop up the spill. A portion of the road was subject to resurfacing works.
Jamie Powell, one of the sales team at the Herald, was on the scene. ‘The stink of the diesel was unbelievable. By the time I got there, preparations were already underway to shut the road and the fire service was at the scene.’
The closure of the main road in to Pembrokeshire’s commercial and administrative centre resulted in long traffic delays and the diversion of vehicles down side roads.
Jane Potter, a Johnston resident, told us ‘It took almost half an hour minutes to travel the length of the Bulford Road to Tier’s Cross. The road is very narrow and it was a tight squeeze for buses and lorries to get by. One lorry driver told me it had taken him an hour to get from a nearby quarry. The amount of traffic meant it took me over fifty minutes to get from Johnston into work.’
With the Old Hakin Road closed, travellers heading to Haverfordwest were diverted to take the B4327 through Dreen Hill. Those attempting to take a short cut along the Ratford Bridge road were soon nose to tail and meeting traffic coming the other way.
The B4341 was closed for a period following a separate road traffic accident, adding to the weight of traffic on the usually quiet Dreen Hill road.
The efforts of Council workers in managing the dive
rted traffic and resurfacing the road so quickly received praise on the Council’s Facebook page. Local resident Lou Pooley commented, ‘Well done to all involved clearing it up and sorting the road.’ David Swan echoed her words writing, ‘Well done on turning round a difficult job in such a tight time frame whilst protecting the environment.’