A car is written off and a bridge in Havelock North is awaiting repairs after a motorist ploughed into it late yesterday afternoon.
Cars were banked up either side of the Te Aute Road bridge while a fire engine and police attended the smash at about 4.30pm.
The female driver and her young child with her were unharmed, Acting Sergeant Nick Renall said.
The driver's friend, Mariette Vandermerwe, who saw the crash, said she thought the car was on fire immediately after it hit the steel barrier because what looked like smoke was filling up the front seat.
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"I think it was just from the airbags, though," she said.
Nearby residents flocked to the streets after hearing what they said was a loud crash.
Bjorn Schuffelen who had been stopped due to the crash said, "I'm just wondering how it happened, straight road, 50 kilometre speed limit".
Another resident who lived down a long driveway said she knew immediately someone had hit the bridge when she heard the bang.
Mr Renall said it appeared no other cars were involved and they were unsure why she had veered off the road.
He asked for people who may have seen the crash to contact him on 0211913186.