A man who jumped a highway guard rail and another who walked along a rural Western Bay of Plenty road have each suffered life-threatening injuries after each were hit by a car a day apart.

A 26-year-old Papamoa man was rushed to Tauranga Hospital yesterday with critical injuries after he was hit by a car while trying to cross the Tauranga Eastern link about 11am.

Acting Senior Sergeant Rich Martin said from the scene the man jumped the barrier rail near Bruce Rd in attempt to cross the busy highway. He was hit by a woman, 30, travelling solo in a white car, smashing her windscreen and staving in the roof.

The woman was visibly distressed as police and ambulance officers arrived at the scene. She was treated for shock and comforted by Victim Support.

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Mr Martin said the man appeared to have emerged from vacant land on the eastern side of the highway, but it was not known where he was headed.

"He's actually climbed over the alcove area and the two carriageways are separated by another [barrier], so it's not an easy cross."

The man had been wearing a white T-shirt, shorts and shoes, and Mr Martin appealed for any sightings of the man prior to the crash. A lone baseball cap was left on the road several metres from where the white car had stopped.

Diversions were set up around the scene, backing up south-bound traffic for several kilometres.

Head of Western Bay of Plenty road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said yesterday's crash and another where a person was seriously hurt after running out in front of a car near Te Maunga roundabout on January 2 were the only two incidents involving pedestrian crashes on the highway since it opened in 2015.

"It's not designed for pedestrians to cross. It's obvious when you view it, has central wire rope barriers, it's an expressway at 100km/h, there's no pedestrian refuge area or crossing points. It's simply high risk."

The Serious Crash Unit was investigating the collision.

Mr Campion said he wanted to extend a personal thanks to witnesses who stopped and helped the victim and the driver.

Mount Truck Sales, which operates from Bruce Rd, was forced to put off client appointments while the highway was shut down.

Sales manager Kevin O'Neill said there was nothing but maize growing on the eastern side of the highway where the man was hit.

"It's got no walking access. There's nothing to go to there on the other side of the road. It's a bit weird."

On Monday, a Rotorua man also suffered critical injuries after being hit by a car. The 50-year-old had been walking on the side of Wharawhara Rd near Katikati when he was hit about 2.30pm.

He was transferred from Tauranga Hospital to Waikato Hospital later that night, where he remained in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit yesterday .

Police said the driver of the car that hit the man was uninjured but shaken.