A car hit speeds of "at least" 160km/h as it weaved among traffic on a Dunedin motorway yesterday with police in pursuit.

The chase ended on the Southern Motorway, near the Green Island off-ramp, in three men being arrested, as motorists passed in the neighbouring lane.

A man driving in the area at the time of the pursuit, who did not want to be named, said he was travelling south on the motorway at Caversham when a car travelling "at least 160[km/h]" passed on the inside.

The driver failed to stop at a red light at the intersection with South Rd.

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"He barrelled through and we lost sight of him."

Four police cars were in pursuit. Downer contractors were working on a section of motorway between Lookout Pt and Green Island and several road cones were "ploughed" through or dragged along the motorway.

As the man drove past, three men were being arrested by officers in the lane nearest the median barrier.

The fleeing car was badly damaged and a police car had to be towed from the scene, the motorist said.

A police spokeswoman said "a person of interest" was seen by police travelling in the car on the motorway just after 3pm.

The driver allegedly sped off when police signalled for him to stop. The fleeing car slowed down because of mechanical issues and was stopped by police near the off-ramp, she said.

During the pursuit, police believed items had been thrown from the car.

Police and a police dog searched the side of the motorway.

No items had been found by police by 7pm, she said.

Three men will appear in Dunedin District Court today.

A 35-year-old Dunedin man has been charged with reckless driving and failing to stop and, on unrelated matters, with two counts of unlawful intimidation. A 36-year-old Dunedin man was charged with possession of cannabis, and a 36-year-old Invercargill man, was charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

A section of the motorway was closed after the pursuit and traffic was diverted to Concord and through Green Island. Traffic was backed up to Andersons Bay Rd.