A woman is recovering in Tauranga Hospital today after a seroius crash which shut down State Highway 2 for hours.

Two people were trapped in their cars after the two-car collision near Tetley Rd, about 2.4kms south of Katikati township about 3.15pm yesterday.

Both people were cut free from the wreckage of their cars by the fire service and were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

A hospital spokesman said a 44-year-old woman was admitted yesterday from a crash and was this morning in a ward and in a stable condition.

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SH2 traffic was brought to a complete standstill as emergency services dealt with the scene.

Western Bay of Plenty head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said there were no diversions available in the area other than turning back to go over the Kaimai Range.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area but a massive backlog of traffic built up until 5pm when one lane was opened to traffic.

It was not until about 5.30pm that the road was opened up to both directions of traffic.

At 5pm the road heading into Katikati was still backed up as far as Turners Rd, 13km from the scene of the crash.

Traffic was at a complete standstill for more than an hour, and drivers turned their car engines off and stretched their legs on the road. Some frustrated drivers U-turned and drove back towards Tauranga.

Others took to social media to vent their frustration about the notorious stretch of road between Tauranga and Waihi.

Clint Peden wrote: "Let's get the bypass."


Deahn Mark posted: "People need to slow down and pay attention. I drove this road this morning ... cars right up my butt, cars not giving enough notice when turning, cars crossing on the centre line, speeding, list goes on ... it's like people have a death wish!!"

In April last year a $520 million roading package to transform State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Waihi was announced.

The package included a $286m Tauranga Northern Link connecting the Takitimu Drive toll road with SH2 Te Puna but did not include a bypass for Katikati - a bone of contention for many residents.

On Monday the Bay of Plenty Times reported the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges had asked NZ Transport Agency to take a "fresh look" at the Katikati section of the Waihi to Tauranga programme.

By mid-2017 it was expected locals would be alerted to any changes to be made to that stretch of road.