A rubbish truck brought traffic in central Whangarei to a halt briefly yesterday when it struck the rail overbridge on Rust Ave.

The road was blocked for about 15 minutes after the crash at 12.30pm.

Constable Leon Shepherd said the truck was heading west on Rust Ave towards Western Hills Drive, when a bar on the back of the truck "clipped" the underside of the bridge.

Members of the public helped the driver let some air out of the truck's tyres, and it was able to get out from under the bridge. The truck's windscreen popped out on impact.

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Mr Shepherd said some debris landed on the bonnet of a car under the bridge, heading in the opposite direction, and caused minor damage.

A train was held up for about half an hour while KiwiRail engineers checked the tracks.

Northland Waste branch manager Derek Stratton said the company would be conducting an internal investigation into the cause of the accident.