Auckland peak-hour traffic was reduced to a crawl yesterday after a crane struck a motorway overbridge in Otahuhu.

The southbound truck and crane unit, owned by Auckland firm Hi-Lift Cranes, hit the Princes St bridge about 3.30 pm, breaching a water mains pipe and damaging the overbridge.

Water spilled onto the motorway for about half an hour before the Fire Service could control the flow.

A police spokesman said a number of minor accidents on the motorway after the collision added to traffic delays.


Two hours after the accident traffic was still backed up nearly 14km, all the way back into the city.

One of the three southbound motorway lanes was closed for about an hour.

The Otahuhu off-ramp and the Princes St overbridge were also closed for about 1 1/2 hours so engineers could check the bridge's structure.

Apart from the ruptured water mains, no serious damage was found on the bridge, and it was reopened to traffic about 5.30 pm.

No one was hurt in the collision. Police are investigating.