Truck fire near Swisttal-Heimerzheim Traffic on the A61 in the direction of Cologne is restricted.
Update | Swisttal-Heimerzheim · A truck fire on the A61 near Swisttal-Heimerzheim caused massive traffic obstructions on Wednesday. On Thursday, the stretch in the direction of Cologne is still partially closed.
One day after a truck caught fire on the A 61 near Swisttal-Heimerzheim, the route towards Cologne is still closed. The overtaking lane was cleared at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday evening, a member of the motorway police said on Thursday morning. Since the remaining part of the road still has to be repaired, it will remain closed until further notice. It is not yet clear how long the closure will last, the spokesperson added. He said that the work was to begin on Thursday morning. He added that traffic congestion on the road was still to be expected, especially at rush hour.
At about 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, a truck completely burnt out on the A61 near Swisttal-Heimerzheim at the Blauer Stein car park. The A61 was subsequently closed in the direction of Cologne. The lane in the direction of Koblenz was also temporarily closed, but could be reopened at around 1.45 p.m.
Some vehicles had been stuck in a traffic jam in front of the scene of the accident for hours. The Police therefore gradually redirected them in the opposite direction of travel to the Swisttal exit at around 4 p.m.
A heavy duty gravel truck from a nearby gravel plant in the Straßfeld municipality was called in to push the plastic granulate, which was still partially on fire, onto the roadway. There it was immediately extinguished by the fire brigade.
On Wednesday evening, the fire brigade began to remove the extinguished debris in so-called debris troughs. The wrecked truck was removed from the accident site after 7 p.m. According to the Autobahn GmbH, the surface of the road and the shoulder will probably have to be renewed because of the damage caused by the fire. Police asked commuters to avoid the accident site between the Swisttal and Heimerzheim junctions for the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday due to the ongoing work to clear up the aftermath of the accident.
Accident probably caused by a burst tyre
The 62-year-old driver of the truck said he had been on his way from the Czech Republic and was carrying plastic waste. At around 12.30 p.m., the truck's tyre burst, the police incident commander said. The driver was pulling over when the tyre reportedly caught fire, and the fire spread to the rest of the truck, the driver said.
Karsten Windolph, deputy spokesperson for the Swisttal fire brigade, said that the truck was already fully engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived. The fire brigade's 35 or so emergency personnel carried out fire-fighting operations. The Weilerswist fire brigade supported the operation and ensured the water supply with the help of a water tank. On Wednesday, a traffic jam of about eight kilometres had formed on the A61. The secondary route via Metternich was also affected by the accident and its aftermath.
(Original text: ga / Translation: Jean Lennox)