Traffic into Tauranga city was brought to a standstill after a motorcyclist crashed during a police pursuit on Hewletts Rd.

Traffic crawled for kilometres on the main arterial routes of and surrounding State Highway 2 yesterday.

Traffic was ground to a halt after a motorcyclist fleeing police crashed on Hewletts Rd. Photo/George Novak
Traffic was ground to a halt after a motorcyclist fleeing police crashed on Hewletts Rd. Photo/George Novak

The crash happened on Hewletts Rd between Tauranga Habour Bridge and Tasman Quay at 9.35am. Southbound lanes of the highway were closed for nearly two hours. The crash came just moments after a serious collision involving a large truck and ute near Paengaroa.

Western Bay of Plenty head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said police were pursuing the rider at the time of the crash.

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Campion said the motorcyclist was seen by a police patrol car waiting for traffic lights while in the bus lane on Hewletts Rd at the intersection with Jean Batten Drive.

Officers noticed the bike allegedly had no registration when the lights turned green and the rider took off, Campion said.

"When the traffic lights changed officers activated the lights and sirens," Campion said.

"A short time later, the motorcyclist crashed."

A St John ambulance took the motorcyclist to Tauranga Hospital with suspected serious leg injuries. However, by yesterday afternoon the rider had been discharged from hospital with minor injuries.

The road was reopened about 11.15am.

Traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see along SH2, including Maunganui Rd.

The congestion was exacerbated by a minor crash on Maunganui by the Bayfair roundabout about 11am. The heavy traffic was whittled down to one lane on either side of the intersection while one of the cars involved was dealt with.

Emergency services shut down SH33, south of Paengaroa at Three Mile Hill, for most of the day after a crash involving a ute and a large truck carrying milk cartons.

The crash happened at 8.57am. While the driver of the ute escaped unharmed, the driver of the truck was trapped inside his vehicle for at least 20 minutes, Campion said.

Campion said a doctor who had just finished his shift and was driving home was among the first on the scene and "assisted significantly at the scene".

The driver was flown to Rotorua Hospital with serious injuries.