Karangahake Gorge was blocked for more than six hours today after a truck rolled and spilt its cargo across the road.
Thousands of drivers had 90 minutes added to their journey via a detour that sent cars and trucks on a big loop around the base of the Coromandel Peninsula via Paeroa, Kopu and Waihi.
The truck rolled and blocked the gorge between School Rd and Waitawheta Rd at 8.30am, closing State Highway 2 at Mackaytown. The driver was uninjured and a police spokeswoman said a crane was needed to remove the truck.
The gorge reopened to one lane through the accident scene at 3pm and two lanes shortly after 4pm.
Nick Spiers' first thought when he witnessed the truck roll right in front of him was, "Oh my God, the driver could be crushed".
Spiers said he travelled through Karangahake Gorge every week for work and was driving behind the truck when it rolled in the middle of the gorge.
"He came around the corner and the back of his truck lifted up and caused the rest of his truck to go with it," Spiers said.
"It just happens so quickly you don't realise ... if you can imagine a brick on its side and watching that falling over, -that is what it looked like."
Spiers said he pulled over and put his hazard lights on while his workmate stopped traffic and ran to the truck to offer the driver some help.
"I ran over to see if the driver was okay and he was. He had a couple of scrapes and knocks," he said.
Spiers said the stretch of road where the truck rolled was not a dangerous area.
In another crash yesterday, police responded to a two-car crash in the Tauranga CBD just after 10am which resulted in a small hatchback crashing into a power box.
A police media spokeswoman said police were called to a crash involving two cars on Devonport Rd near First Ave and Elizabeth St just after 10am.
Firefighters at the scene said no one was seriously hurt and ambulance staff treated people for minor injuries.