Dylan Thorne

Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Bridge limit at issue


Gregory Woledge was by all accounts a young man with everything ahead of him.

He was dedicated to his young, growing family and a keen sportsman.

Tragically, the 24-year-old electrician died this week when his van plunged off the Maungatapu Bridge following a three-car collision.

He was trapped under water when his Toyota van crashed through the railing, just after 6pm on Monday.

His friends and family yesterday paid tribute.

Chelsea Findsen, who is pregnant with Mr Woledge's second child, described him as the "best partner" and "best kind of dad".

His parents, Kevin and Vivienne Woledge, said their son was looking forward to the birth of his second child and had everything to live for.

Others who knew him described Mr Woledge as being a well-respected, positive guy who "always did the right thing".

Yesterday, I drove past the section of bridge where Mr Woledge's van plunged into the harbour.

The damaged railing had to been taped over and 50km/h signs were out as workers set about repairing the damage.

The scene brought home to me the tragedy of the event. It also made me realise just how quickly things change in life.

Police are still piecing together the events of that night.

However, more than one person has mentioned to me that they think the 100km/h speed limit in place at the moment is too high given how narrow the bridge is.

It is not the first fatal crash on the bridge.

In January 2010, a 60-year-old Tauranga woman died in the wreckage of her SUV from a head-on crash on Maungatapu Bridge with a ute driven by a 17-year-old youth. He suffered serious neck and abdominal injuries.

We can only hope something is done to prevent another tragic death on this stretch of road.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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