A Taupō woman thought she'd hit a person after accidentally driving through a "crater"-sized pothole along State Highway 1 between Auckland and Taupō.
Glenys, whose last name Newshub has agreed not to publish, was travelling from Auckland back home to Taupō with her friend in the early hours of September 12.
She was driving the stretch of road at about 6am and said it was "misty" because it had been "drizzling all morning".
"We couldn't see much, but I had my lights on and everything. And we came around a bend and just went boom. The car just about s**t itself."
Glenys told Newshub she and her friend were "jolted forward" from the impact of the "crater"-sized pothole.
"I was really shaken up because my girlfriend thought I'd hit a bloody human being."
She decided to pull over because she was worried about what the impact had done to her Honda Jazz, when she saw two trucks and two other vehicles pulled over too.
"We all had to get out and look at our vehicles. We're all talking and going 'what the f***, what was that? What did we hit?'."
The pothole sent Glenys' hubcap flying, one of the trucks was getting a tow truck sorted and another had to change their tyre.
Glenys told Newshub there were dents on one of her tyres which took the impact, but the air didn't appear to be leaking, so she drove home at a cautious speed.
But it was when Glenys got home and checked the tyre again that it "was completely flat".
"I don't even know how I got home, but I did."
Glenys subsequently took some photos of the damage and sent them to her insurance company. She told Newshub her car was towed away and assessed, which found the damage was significant enough that it wouldn't be worth fixing.
The Taupō woman has applied for compensation from Waka Kotahi, which the transport agency is reviewing. In the meantime, she's without a vehicle.
Acting regional manager of maintenance and operations for Waka Kotahi Roger Brady said he understood the "frustration and stress of the situation" for Glenys.
"Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and our contractors are still completing their investigation to determine the correct outcome for those involved."
Brady said as soon as Waka Kotahi is advised of potholes or other road damage, maintenance contractors are dispatched to repair the damage.
"We realise how important it is to ensure potholes are repaired and filled as quickly, and safely as possible, for the safety of all road users," Brady said.
He said contractors found the pothole the same morning Glenys drove through it and that it had formed overnight due to heavy rain.
"It was fixed promptly that morning and the road was inspected again in the afternoon and found to be in suitable condition."
Brady told Newshub Waka Kotahi is "working hard" to improve the safety of the stretch of State Highway 1 and completed the installation of central and side barriers along a 4.5km section of the road north from Maroa Rd to Tram Rd earlier this year.
"While the installation of the barriers is complete, there are finishing works still required that will be completed this summer, such as final reseals and patches for areas that didn't receive a second seal due to the unusually wet conditions."
Brady said the "unusually heavy rain" has impacted the road surface during construction and has contributed to Waka Kotahi's need to return back during summer to ensure 100 percent quality compliance.2023-10-03T03:48:35Z dg43tfdfdgfd