A 45-year-old Katikati woman is in a critical condition at Tauranga Hospital following a crash on State Highway 2 yesterday which closed the road for almost four hours.

Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said two cars were involved in the crash about 1km east of Katikati, near Wharawhara Rd, at 8.16am yesterday morning.

Mr Campion said the driver of one vehicle, who was heading east, suffered serious head injuries, while the driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

"At this stage we don't know what the cause was, but the serious crash unit attended and is investigating."


Police put diversions in place until midday as they worked to clear the scene.

Katikati firefighter Brendan Gibbs said they assisted ambulance staff in taking an unconscious woman from one of the vehicles. Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the area of road where the crash happened was included for investigation, as part of the Safer Roads and Roadside Programme which would see $73.9 million allocated to improving dangerous roads in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

Speaking about the project last week, Mr Bridges said the project included nearly all high-risk roads where there had been five or more fatalities in the last five years, including State Highway 2 at Katikati and State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range towards Hamilton.

Mr Bridges said estimates were that the road improvements would result in 900 fewer deaths and serious injuries on roads within the next 10 years.