Karapiro dam bridge blocked

An access route to the national Waka Ama champs was blocked on Saturday after a truck and trailer became stuck on the Karapiro Dam bridge.

It is understood a rim on a trailer wheel on the Les Harrison transport vehicle struck the side of the bridge.

The bridge is owned by Mercury Energy which is now working with Waipā District Council to implement additional controls to make access to the dam road safer.

That will include including the installation of speed cushions, additional signs and height and width restriction barriers.

Police put a road block in place as the truck was reversed off the bridge onto Maungatautari Rd. It headed north to Cambridge, but stopped to have a tyre changed.

The incident happened just before noon on the final day of the Te Wananga o Aotearoa national waka ama sprint championships.

One competitor told the News he was on the water at the time and heard an explosion – thought to be the tyre bursting.

A Mercury spokesperson said the road across the Karapiro Dam is narrow with a curve that doesn’t accommodate long vehicles, “and this truck ignored the clear signage around weight, weight, and length of vehicles that are able to safely use the road”.

“It’s extremely disappointing that this truck put themselves and the dam infrastructure at risk, and inconvenienced other road users while access was blocked.”

The spokesperson said the incident reconfirmed that additional controls are necessary.

Les Harrison Transport had no responded to a request for comment when this edition went to press.

Karapiro is a single lane concrete arch bridge and was completed in 1947 when the lake was formed by damming the Waikato river to store water.

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