The driver of a truck carrying a digger which brought Auckland to a standstill for several hours when the digger smashed into an overbridge has been charged.

The 65-year-old Taupo man was allegedly driving the truck when it smashed into the Penrose overbridge last Monday.

The man has been charged with dangerous driving, which has a maximum disqualification period from driving of 6 months.

It is also punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to three months and a fine of up to $4500.


The man will appear in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday.

The accident happened on May 9 at about 1.15pm when the arm of the digger struck the Penrose overbridge, causing the digger to be knocked off its trailer on to two of the three southbound lanes of the Southern Motorway.

Police earlier confirmed that the load was over-height and witnesses have described seeing the high-visibility LED early warning signs activate as the truck approached the bridge.

The driver behind the truck slammed on his brakes after anticipating the accident because he saw the flashing signs go off about 100m before the bridge, warning the truck in the centre lane that it was too high to fit under the overpass.

The man, who didn't want to be named, said the arm of the digger smashed into the bridge, and the machine fell into the right lane in front of his car.

He estimated it had overlapped by just 20cm.

By 4.40pm, the digger had been moved to the side of the motorway and all lanes were open, with residual congestion.