A broken pipe caused a flash flood on a Mount Maunganui street this afternoon, partially closing the road.

A staff member who worked at the Westhaven Motel said it appeared a pipe had burst on The Mall near the intersection of Prince St.

The water had now drained away. Traffic cones were in place to divert traffic and it appeared council staff were digging in the area, she said.

"It was like a flash flood. The water almost reached car doors."

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She said the motel had put sandbags down as the water had almost reached the units.

She said traffic cones were put in place to block off the road.

A Tauranga City Council spokesperson said there was a significant water main break late this afternoon, causing water to spill over The Mall at Pilot Bay.

"The break has meanwhile been contained, however the surface of the road has been affected as a result of the flooding.

"Our transport team is on site to assess the situation. Meanwhile, The Mall, between Pacific Ave and Prince Ave has been closed and traffic is being diverted via Victoria Ave."

The spokesperson said one lane had reopened and allows slowly driving traffic to go in both directions again.

Contractors will start repairs tomorrow morning and work is expected to take up to a week.