A fatal crash in Central Hawke's Bay is one of the worst a Central Hawke's Bay firefighter has ever seen.

A male driver in his early 30s crashed his Holden Commodore into the Manga-O-Nuku Bridge on SH50 at 1.20am on Thursday with police, fire and ambulance spending hours at the scene.

Tikokino firefighter Mike Harrison said the accident "was one of the worst" crashes he'd attended.

"It was a very high speed crash," Harrison said.


He said even though the bridge was located on a highway, drivers usually slowed down when approaching the one-way bridges on that stretch of road.

Fire and Emergency appliances from Tikokino, Ongaonga and Hastings attended along with St John Ambulance and police.

The bridge is one of three one-way bridges on State Highway 50, but former Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler said the bridge was notorious for crashes and traffic had significantly increased on the road due to continual roadworks on State Highway 2.

"I was informed during my first year as mayor that those three bridges were 114, 115 and 116 on the to-do list in terms of major works that NZTA needed to do.

"There were more smashes on those bridges so council put a proposal together to get something done about it and then their rank on the list shifted to 113, 114 and 115 - they'd moved up one spot in three years."

Butler said the fatal was the third accident that the Tikokino fire brigade had attended in less than a week along State Highway 50.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council group manager for development and infrastructure Josh Lloyd said the council didn't have any direct involvement within the stretch of road.

"We're not aware of anything unusual on that route - we do have a very good working relationship with the NZ Transport Agency. We partner with them very closely and we're working really well together especially with the State Highway 2 upgrades which are currently in place."


The NZTA has been contacted for comment.