Rest Area 300m: March 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006


Doing The Dishes

One of our illustrious workers is a bit of a magpie.

He can't resist anything shiny on or near the road.

The back of his little work truck is always a pile of newly found treasures. Wheel trims,piping, petrol caps, you name it, it's there.

He also loves a bargain.

He bought a new satellite dish and decoder from a friend of a mate, who knows a guy, whose in law works with someone, that lives over the road from the chap that imports them.

It was duly installed a couple of days ago, and now he can watch the News in Mandarin in glowing colour.

Hours after installation the Optus B satellite and all it's TV channels crashed big time.

Convinced he has been sold a dud, our venerable friend, pulls plugs, swaps leads, beats things with hammer to the marital strains of "Told you it was a silly idea, you cheap bugger" etc.etc.

Then when he got to work this morning, we nearly convinced him, that he alone, was responsible for plunging the South Pacific into being a digital TV desert.

He was very quiet till the radio news trumpeted that all was well again.

Made my day...

Getting Around ...

"We are not amused at slurs on the good name of our bodyguard and Bartiphone tutor, Doderiol."
(Hah! Blogging insider joke.)

Loss Of Signal

Spokesman Tony O'Brien said there was a "temporary loss" of signal to the satellite after a routine positioning procedure by Optus, the satellite service provider.
Blank screens saw an exodus of patrons in one pub.
"It's a biggie ... Our pub is nearly empty because of it," said Schenelle Phear, manager of the Lovelocks Sports Bar in Wellington.
"People can't really sit in the pub not doing anything but drinking."

O Really!
Bloody Townies ...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fizz, crackle, pop ...

"We have an outage on SKY's Optus B1 satellite.

"At this time there are no SKY satellite services.
We will keep you updated as we obtain more information."

Oh Dear....
I hope it's not the back up processor...

"Optus B1 suffers a major outage"
"Optus has confirmed that it's aging B1 satellite experienced an outage in late May but that television broadcast services have now been restored. A failure of the primary satellite control processor was the culprit and the satellite is now using the back-up processor. The Optus B1 satellite is a Boeing 601 model; other operators of this model have also suffered the same failure in recent years.

The outage caused a major interruption to the New Zealand pay TV service Sky TV for a number of hours. Optus B1 is also used to distribute ABC & SBS television to terrestrial transmitter sites and there have been reports of brief outages to SBS television in some areas including Newcastle. The outage was serious enough for Singapore Telecommunications (owners of Optus) to advise the Australia Stock Exchange of the problem. Sky TV in New Zealand has also made an announcement to their investors via a press release.

Optus B1 is due for replacement early next year by an Optus D series satellite, which is being built by Orbital Sciences Corp of the US. Everyone has their fingers crossed that the back-up processor behaves itself until Optus B1 is replaced."

No, ... Through The Gate ...

This driver had a fright a couple of days ago.

The bank is really steep, much steeper than it appears in the photo.

How it stayed on its wheels is a mystery.

But the farmer won't be too happy.


Todays Paper ...

"Fatal crash car may have crossed line"

Taranaki Daily News 30 March 2006
"Initial investigations into Monday's fatal crash at Tongaporutu indicate the car driven by a German man may have been in the wrong lane.
Uhlenberg Haulage truck driver Gregory Bruce Bevins (50), of Eltham, died when his northbound truck and trailer unit and a southbound rental car collided.
The truck plunged 25 metres into the flooded Tongaporutu River.
Yesterday, Senior Constable Les Maddaford, of the Central Districts serious crash unit, said gouge marks revealed the impact between the Uhlenberg Haulage Mack truck and the Holden Astra car occurred at the base of the bank in the northbound lane.
"Somebody has to be on the wrong side of the road for a head-on collision to have occurred," he said.
The rental car, driven by a 35-year-old Hamilton-based German man heading south to work at Fonterra in Hawera, had ended up very close to the place where the collision occurred and facing the way it came, Mr Maddaford said.
"All avenues are being explored to ascertain why a collision has occurred against the fog line of the northbound lane."
Mechanical failure had not been eliminated, he said.
"There's been suggestions of the weather having an impact and the nature of the road having an impact. It could be the driver having a steering input or it could be mechanical failure.
"All those options have to be canvassed; now the jigsaw starts."
Mr Maddaford said he could not comment on suggestions the truck driver was attempting to avoid a full head-on collision.
"That's pure speculation."
But he did say the impact had been on the left-hand front of both vehicles.
Once the investigation was completed, the report would be handed over to the officer in charge, Constable Tony Brownrigg, who would decide whether a prosecution would follow.
"I would like to hope we would have some form of finality within about a fortnight," he said.
Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan, of Waitara, said yesterday that the truck had been removed from the river late on Tuesday afternoon.
The road was now fully open after being down to one lane for most of the day."

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From The Wire

Ross, amongst others, has asked me about wire rope crash barriers.

One of our favourite engineers has sent me some video links of drowsy drivers straying into the barrier on Centennial Highway.
Check them out Here

This has been a killer stretch of road. (Map)

I think they speak for themselves.


A sad day by the river.

Click picture for bigger version

The crash we attended yesterday is front page news in the Taranaki Daily News.(probably short term link)

The Truck was travelling north towards the camera, the car south away from the camera.

The loaded truck went over the bank in the left foreground.

The car is very close to the original impact point, but has been spun around, the truck has climbed over the car, running over the passengers side.

The front suspension on the truck, always a trucks most vulnerable point in an accident, has collapsed and the truck continued across the corner and over the bank.

Unbelievably the car driver survived with "minor injuries"

Two 50 tonne cranes are used to recover the truck.
The "Bathtub" trailer unit first.

It is a job that requires skill and orchestration

Then the truck tractor unit.

This all takes time, and traffic builds up. We have to send a truck with signs and flashers out quite some distance to warn unsuspecting drivers hurtling up to the tail of the queue.

Something that is not often seen by the public, is a blessing done at the scene when there has been a fatality.

The transporter & cranes leave, and as the traffic finally flows, we clean up.

The next day we read the local paper

In my time I have been a reporter, truck driver & road worker, but not a crash investigator, though I have seen many many accident scenes, ...It's part of my job.
Obviously my views are just that.
My views.

Having said that, ...
The wishful "heroic truck driver" steering away from disaster, is usually just wishful thinking. Nearly any major impact damages the front suspension and steering, often the spring hangers, so that the whole front axle can pivot. Physics then take over, the driver is helpless.

So, ... "While police were not prepared to speculate, several eyewitnesses had told them they believed the truck driver had averted a more serious head-on collision with the car by driving over the adjacent river bank." (Daily News)

Is rubbish.
Also there were no eyewitnesses.

"Several upset and angry truck drivers waiting in traffic yesterday morning asked why the road was not better maintained. The crash corner had not been tarsealed when other nearby roads had been, one said.

That would be because it didn't need it.

This was a sad and tragic accident, a sobering one if you are a truck driver. I believe he was confronted by a car on the wrong side of the road.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Road closed due to accident. Ambulance and helicopter on site. No Alternative route, traffic control in place.

Another long day.

Another river

Another white cross.

I will post some recovery photo's tomorrow.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

It Wood Happen ...

I'd just hit the "publish to blog thingie" on my last (most impressive) post.
I'm feeling all Bloggy smugness, when a car hurtles through the gate and the "Tree Down" cry goes up.

Now I don't know if the trees know something we don't, but I was called out at 2 a.m. this morning for a similar one ( Liquidamber ) that had also commited suicide.

When you arrive, all is usually confusion, and anxiety. The truckies have deadlines and the log books are ticking.
For once they are pleased to see the Road Works Truck.

It was quite a reasonable size, but I winched to the side of the road, got rid of the traffic, and called out the calvary with the chainsaw.

I'll burn it in my fire this winter, just to make sure it's not a terrible spreading tree flu disease.

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Old Rocker

Rocker from way back, Me.

It's in the jeans.

I can remember rock and roll being the " tool of Satan, driving the young into a frenzy of sinful hip swinging gyrations."

Time Magazine describing Elvis as moving, "Like a worm on a hot shovel".

I pondered this today as I dug my way across a bit of NZ, shovelling rocks from the water table.

Once a rocker, always a rocker ...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not to be Big Headed, But ...

If You put;
blog road worker
into Google, and hit "I'm feeling Lucky"
You get this amazingly well written and fascinating site.
Mind you it seems there is only one of us, which I find a bit incredible.

I suppose this entitles me to emblazon this site with a few
"Worlds First"
"Worlds Only"
NZ Triumphs Again"
sort of stuff.
But I'm too humble for that.

Rainy Sunday Stuff.

Flying Cow Leaves Two Police Cars in Flames


Thank goodness there is a little sanity out there.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

This should slay them at the interview for the new job

Friday, March 24, 2006


I had a word with the boss of bosses this morning, up in our head office.

It seems we are getting a computor at our depot.

Now it is only a matter of time before my immediate boss ( a kind, considerate, and generous man) discovers the archives.

I could be washing marker pegs forever.

Did I mention how kind, considerate, and generous he is?

I feel quite loving towards him in an unbrokeback mountain kind of way...

I mean, anything but washing marker pegs ...

Besides, I want to borrow the digger.

A mate & I have a little job in mind.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"The Names Fart ... Doddery Fart ... 0070"

"People who fancy their chances of being New Zealand's spymaster have six days to apply.

Security Intelligence Service director Richard Woods is set to retire in October after seven years, and the hunt for his replacement is on."

The job pays well Mr Woods' salary package last year was between $270,000 and $280,000 and his successor will also get a new office in the new combined SIS-Defence headquarters building now nearing completion on the corner of Aitken and Murphy Streets." Stuff NZ

This job would be very Me.
I could hang about with beautiful Russian Countesses, and drive an Aston Martin.

I could have a covert blog.

I would have my Cocoa shaken, not stirred.

Actually I have been in deep cover for some time.

Of course there is somebody I am going to have to "take out" with my poisoned umbrella.

He has been following me with his spy camera

I know who he is

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sole Survivor.

One of the crew has been off work for months after an adventure with a killer flounder.

He was delivering a breakfast flounder to a neighbour.

This meant crossing a deep ditch by way of a plank.

He didn't make it, and ended up in the ditch doing untold damage to his shoulder.

It could be months before he is fully fit, he has already had one operation.

The flounder though was delicious.

True Grit.

There is hint of frosts to come in the mornings now.

The first ones can be interesting,

People forget, - until they are going backwards into the bank.

If we get really good icing conditions, we have to spread grit.

Usually at 3 a.m.

I don't even want to think about it ...

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At The Beach

A nice little job, in a great spot, on a neat day.

Mind you the sea is pretty flat.

Be nice to go fishing ...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Melting Moments

I was off this morning to titivate the highway,
when a R/T message diverted me to pick up a couple of tons of Lime in 20 kg paper bags.

No problem, a nice trip into unfamiliar territory.
And a nice day.

The truck was duly loaded and away I trundle.

Then it rained.

"Calcium oxide is very reactive and can be dangerous; it is called 'lump-lime' or 'quicklime' and may be left as lumps or ground down into powder. It must be kept dry, as it reacts very quickly with water ( even the water in the air or the moisture in your skin ) to form calcium hydroxide, which is the first step to reversing the process back to calcium carbonate. Just as making quicklime needed heat, the reverse process produces heat: calcium oxide (CaO) plus water (H2) produces calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) and heat."

I skidded into The Warehouse car park, and bought a cheap plastic cover for $4.50

I very nearly had a Salvador Dali truck


I'd definitely see this one ...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mahoenui Early Morning.

click for biggie


The Boss was in a top mood today.

He spent the weekend plundering the fishery resource and carousing with his mates.

In fact the whole crew were in a good mood.

The fish are biting you see.

However flogging will continue till morale improves.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cheap Shoulders

"I'm a steamroller baby,
I'm going to roll right over you..."

Driving a roller is mind numbingly boring.
Strangely it can also be quite dangerous.

The road shoulders in NZ are increasingly being constucted on quite steep angles in a bid to save metal and money.
Compacting them can then be a bit dodgy.
A steel roller has very little grip or traction, and is an accident waiting to happen.

Compaction is a science in itself, if the road shoulders can't be compacted properly, the whole job is at risk in winter rains.

It pisses us off when we see steep shoulders and a cheap job.

Howling At The Moon

The love child of Fidel Castro & Vera Lynn, a scurrilous sounding character with a botanical name, has asked me to
"Please describe the traits that you have in common with your dog."

Now, while Ted The Wonder Dog spends most of his nights out whoring and rolling in cow shit, and his days scratching and licking his privates, for his age he is on top of his game.

He digs holes for fun, hasn't a tooth in his head, howls at the moon and also will bury his nose in an unsuspecting crotch.

I on the other hand would never dig a hole for fun.

I hope that settles it...

Friday, March 17, 2006

" Ain't Nothing But A Pound Dog "...

Click Pic for Bigger. ( F.N.Wright)

I picked up my old dog,Ted, from the pound this morning.

He came skidding out of the Dog Pound at Mach 2, did 3 circuits of the truck, hurtled in the door, and whined all the way home.

Mind you, we all do that on fridays.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gutter Politics

Usually St Patrick's day could mean a little time spent in the gutter.

I have spent the last two days there, - with a shovel.

In the trade, we call the area behind the channel, the debris bench.

We use a front end loader to scrape off, and pick up the debris and load it onto my truck.

A skilled operator will also clean 99% of the kerb and channel, but there is also a fair bit of shovel work.

In this area it is all rock, which is continually fretting away from the steep banks.

By the end of the day you are pretty knackered.

So there are stuff all politicians in our gutters.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

While You Buggars Sleep ...

Mt. Messenger


The Ides Of March

I've got an old dog.

His hobbies are raiding rubbish bins and Ladies.

If one of the local bitches is on heat there is no power in this land that can hold him.

He will break chains, slip collars, unpick locks, or disguise himself as a postman to escape and disappear into the night.

In the years that I lived on the East Coast, all the local dogs slowly became his colour, as he did his thing for the gene pool.

He even nailed a gorgeous young labrador, being trained at great expense for a guide dog, that was locked in a cage.

He has 3 bullets in him, ... slowed him up for a little while.

In human years he is older than dirt. Me even.

I have just talked to the local dog control man. He picked him up staggering back home from a jaunt down town.

"He was no trouble, He just jumped in the back"

Well he can do a stretch in the pound for his sins, all the dog control officers are on computer courses for the introduction of the chip and the National Dog Database.

Hope the toothless old bugger freezes his arse off.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Coventry Cat Blogging

How could you do this to a Mk 2 Jaguar ?

In N.Z. there is a move to ban seat belts of the lap type.

"Huntly coroner Bob McDermott, whose area includes several major accident blackspots, said lap seat belts, commonly fitted to the middle of the back seat of a car, should be banned due to the "horrendous injuries" they caused to crash victims.

"There is no polite way to put this - they are almost cut in half ..."

On Sunday, some of the crew were called out to another fatal accident.
Apparently, three people in a pickup truck hit another car.
The centre passenger, beltless, was ejected from the pickup truck and killed.

The lads reckon if the passenger was wearing a lap belt, she would have survived.

Monday, March 13, 2006


I have always been a curious bugger

As a first born I could read pretty well before I actually hit the school system

While all the other kids read "Janet & John", I was into "Scott Of The Antarctic".

Of course I steadily went down hill from there.

A glance at my Blogroll will tell you that.

A curious lot...

Poor bugger, chainsaw must have run out of gas.

I suppose I should give him a lift.

Killer Penguins.

click for biggie
Now if you have been paying attention, you will know where this is.
It is 140 Km's from Hamilton, the start of State Highway 3.

The bridge Number is 1400, (The distance from the start of the highway in hundreds of metres)

140 is a block section beginning, the marker pegs from here will go 140/1 etc.

Even more impressive is the fact that this area geologically is a boundary of the Jurassic and Triassic periods.
There are often strange people with little hammers chipping away at the rock, probably looking for giant killer penguins.

Well I lied about the killer bit, but you never know.

There is also a large brown trout which hangs around here, which is a lot tastier than penguin I believe.

In the interests of symmetry, I suppose it should be a 1.40 Kg trout, but I reckon it's bigger.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cyber Potholes

We are starting to get a bit of rain.
Soon it will be pothole breeding season.
But enough of reality...

You can now get a virtual truck.
Very handy for working on the information highway.

There does seem to be a real shortage of cyber tar though.

Odd That.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Puzzled road cones at the Fat Duck Surprise ...

Male. Lives in New Zealand/North Island/The Road, speaks English. Eye color is blue.
This is my blogchalk:
New Zealand, North Island, The Road, English, Male.

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