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Westlink lorry smash causes city road chaos

Motorists travelling along the Westlink faced heavy delays yesterday after it was closed following a serious road crash.

A lorry trying to negotiate the Clifton Street on-slip smashed into the concrete barrier during the lunchtime rush hour.

The accident caused travel chaos for hundreds of drivers trying to make their way along the busy route.

Most of the Westlink was gridlocked for much of the afternoon.

Some of those caught up in the disruption had to wait more than an hour in traffic.

Following the crash, paramedics were called to take the driver of the vehicle to hospital for treatment. His injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

A short time afterwards police were forced to shut the Westlink from Broadway after it emerged that oil was leaking from the lorry’s tank.

Among those caught up in the traffic chaos was Chris Harrison.

The public relations consultant had been due to arrive at the Europa Bus Centre on a bus from Newry at 2.45pm but didn't make it until 4.15pm, having spent most of the 90-minute delay at a near standstill between the Stockman's Lane and Broadway junctions. At one stage his bus moved just 10 feet in half-an-hour.

“I decided to get the bus from Newry instead of the train after a business meeting but this proved to be a big mistake,” Chris said.

“It was complete gridlock from the M1 exit at Stockman's Lane. No-one was going anywhere. We had no idea what had happened so it was a very long and frustrating wait.”

His wife, Belfast Telegraph journalist Claire Harrison, was caught up in the traffic as she drove from Maghera in Co Londonderry to collect Chris from the Europa Bus Centre on Glengall Street.

She ran into the tailbacks coming off the Westlink at 3pm.

“I didn't see any signs or warnings of disruption ahead as I came off the M2 and on to the Westlink,” she said.

“There was a lot of road rage on display — some drivers were getting very hot and frustrated, cars were overheating and some were blaring horns and shouting a few words at others.

“My own car started to overheat but I just managed to roll it into Glengall Street and get it cooled down before it died completely on me.”

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