Port Tunnel truck fire causes traffic mayhem across the city
THOUSANDS of commuters were left stranded in chaotic traffic tailbacks this morning after the Dublin Port Tunnel was closed due to a truck catching fire.
Emergency services were called to the tunnel shortly after 7am after receiving reports of a vehicle on fire on the northbound side of the dual carriageway.
Over ten appliances from several Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) stations across the city - including North Strand, Tara Street and Finglas - battled the flames that had engulfed the lorry.
Brave firefighters also rescued the male truck driver, who had become trapped in the vehicle's burning cabin.
The man was subsequently transferred to the Mater Hospital in what described as a precautionary measure.
No other injuries were reported and the incident was brought under control by approximately 8.40am.
However, traffic chaos ensued with motorists and commuters across the northside of the city and approach roads to Dublin severely delayed.
Both sides of the tunnel remained closed for a number of hours.
The cause of the truck catching fire has not yet been established, and an examination of the incident is expected to take place. The badly-burned vehicle was removed from the scene shortly before 10am on a tow truck.
When the Port Tunnel was closed, Dublin City Council (DCC) announced shortly before 8am that it was temporarily lifting its Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) ban.
Over 6,000 HGVs use Dublin's Port Tunnel every day, and its temporary closure brought the majority of north Dublin traffic to a standstill and also caused traffic chaos in the city centre.
Some commuters reported travelling at a "crawling" pace of 150 metres within one hour.
Tailbacks were reported along the Malahide Road, with dozens of commuters opting to get off their bus and continue their journey on foot rather than sit in traffic.
The journey from Sybil Hill in Raheny to Fairview took over 35 minutes alone, which is normally a three-minute trip without traffic.
Motorists attempted to divert to the Clontarf, Swords and Howth Roads in order to avoid tailbacks, but all these routes experienced severe congestion by 9.20am.
Major delays were also experienced around the Finglas and Ballymun roads which were being used as alternatives to the Swords Road, while tailbacks were also experienced on the East Link toll road.
DCC introduced the HGV Management Strategy in February 2006, dramatically decreasing the number of five or more axle lorries that could pass through the capital's city centre.
Trucks with five or more axles were banned from entering restricted zones between 7am and 7pm, unless they are issued a permit by DCC.
Meanwhile, Liveline presenter Joe Duffy expressed his frustration at the East Link toll fare still being in effect despite the major disruptions.
"Still static. They've lifted the ban on trucks in city. How about lifting the toll on the East Link for motorists fare," he tweeted.
"Stuck in traffic on north side for last hour No end in sight. The sooner the better the Greens move RTE to Donaghmede," he jokingly added.
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