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Maungatapu Bridge closed following collision

IRB's entering the water below Maungatapu Bridge to begin search. Video: Daniel Hines. Photo: Cameron Avery

Click the image above to watch the video
Update: 11.30pm A Sunlive reporter at Maungatapu Bridge reports that Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB's) have entered the water below the bridge.

Police have confirmed that a vehicle collided with the bridge earlier this evening.

State Highway 29A near Tauranga is still closed between Baypark Roundabout and Maungatapu.

Update: 10.50pm  Police are working to establish how railing along the Maungatapu Bridge, State Highway 29A near Tauranga has come away.

At around 8pm tonight, Police were alerted that railing along a section of the bridge was missing.

Police have reviewed CCTV footage and can confirm that a vehicle collided with the bridge.

The footage does not show what happened following the collision, therefore Police are unable to confirm if the vehicle has left the scene after colliding with the railing. 

Police would like to hear from anyone who has information about this collision and urge them to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300.

The road is closed and could be for some time.

Diversions are in place and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Earlier 8.10pm:

There are reports of a possible serious vehicle accident at Maungatapu Bridge this evening. 

Police advise that State Highway 29A at the Maungatapu Bridge, Tauranga is closed.

At around 8pm Police were alerted that railing along a section of the bridge was missing.

Police are at the scene establishing how the railing has come away from the bridge.

The road is closed and could be for some time.

Diversions are in place and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

A motorist crossing the bridge has reported that their car was the last one across, before Police closed the bridge at approximately 8.20pm on Saturday. The motorist believes that a vehicle has gone over the side through the railing although this has yet to be established by Police.

"The barrier on the bridge is broken and the vehicle must be in the water," says the motorist. "Roads are blocked now both ways. We are the last cars to go through."

A SunLive reporter at the scene reports that the barrier on the bridge is broken, with railing missing. 

"The road is closed from Baypark to Maungatapu and there are multiple police cars at the scene."

NZTA advise motorists to expect delays and use an alternative route, as the road from Baypark Roundabout to Maungatapu Rd will be closed until further notice.

The crowds at the Baypark Speedway event were notified of the road closure over the loud speaker system prior to leaving the venue. 

Photo: Daniel Hines

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