NEW HAMPTON – An 18-wheel truck carrying bottled water buckled under its cargo's weight and forced a traffic tie-up for more than five hours on Route 104 Wednesday afternoon.
The truck was pulling out of a convenience store parking lot about 1:30 p.m. when its bottom began to sag and its back wheels rose from the road, said New Hampton Police Chief Merritt D. Salmon.
The truck was full of crates of bottled water, "obviously too much for the truck's structure to handle," Salmon said.
As a crew from Rusty's Towing in Tilton was called, Salmon and several State Police officers rerouted traffic through the parking lot of Rossi's Italian Ristorante.
When Rusty's Towing owner Rusty Drew got to the scene, he called for more trucks. It took two wreckers, a loader, a forklift and 10 men to get the truck off the road.
Another 18-wheel truck from the trucking company, Milford Freight Inc., arrived late in the afternoon to haul the cargo of bottled water away.
State Police Sgt. Nathan Boothby said state police are investigating the incident.
No one was hurt.
Drew said the truck's structure likely suffered a "stress fracture" from the weight. The truck's cargo structure, which was pulled off the road into a parking lot, is probably a complete loss.
"They don't go much farther after something like that happens," Drew said.
Luckily, Drew said, the incident occurred as the truck driver was entering Route 104, and not on Interstate 93, less than a mile away.
"It's a miracle it happened here," Drew said. "If it happens on a big highway, it can be quite a mess."