Auckland Harbour Bridge truck crashes: Motorists face horrific traffic on Saturday

Aucklanders continue to face horrific traffic after two truck crashes on the Harbour Bridge on Friday crippled one of the city's main transport routes.

Just after 11am on Friday, strong gusts of wind caused mayhem on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, throwing a medium-sized northbound truck onto its side, blocking several centre lanes for hours before it could be safely removed.

At the same time, a southbound truck was blown onto a tilt, hitting the bridge's structure before righting itself.

However, it caused damage to the bridge's superstructure, with a steel upright sheared off. 

"Our first assessment of the structural damage is that a permanent fix will be a long-term process and the four lanes across the centre span of the bridge will remain closed to traffic for at least several days and potentially weeks," NZTA senior journey manager Neil Walker said.

The NZTA acknowledged the close of four lanes would cause significant congestion, and that's exactly what Aucklanders have faced on Saturday.

Google Maps has shown heavy traffic north and south of the bridge all day, amounting to an expected 20-minute delay. However, some motorists Newshub spoke to said delays were far worse.

"Fyi traffic in Auckland is still an utter mess," one person said on Twitter.

The NZTA on Friday called on residents to consider working from home and if they need to travel into the central city to think about using alternative travel options, such as by taking public transport or taking another route like the Western Ring Route.

"We are looking at whether we can make a temporary repair, but we won’t know if it’s possible until we investigate further over the weekend. While part of the bridge structure has been damaged, we have no concerns about its overall integrity and safety."

The Leader of the Opposition on Saturday said the chaos showed why a second harbour crossing was necessary.

"As Auckland wakes up to the fact that the middle four lanes of the harbour bridge could close for an extended period due to yesterday’s accident, just shows that Auckland needs National’s plan to build a new second harbour crossing over the Waitemata sooner rather than later," National's Judith Collins said.

Following Collins' ascension to power in July, she announced that National would work towards an additional crossing, likely a road and rail tunnel under the harbour. The party wants work to begin on the ground in 2028.