11.15am: Following an examination this morning at the site of a major fire at the SH2 and Domain Road interchange at Papamoa, police are treating the fire as suspicious.
The community is being asked to provide police with any information that may assist with this investigation, and this includes any photos or video images taken before or during the fire.
Emergency services were called to the fire at approximately 8pm last night.
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The bridge construction site which is part of the Tauranga Eastern Link Project was significantly damaged by the blaze.
However the cost of the damage is considerable and is likely to impact significantly on the progress of the project.
Police are continuing to work closely with fire investigators to establish the cause in more detail but based on initial information have launched an arson investigation.
It was still daylight at the time of this fire, so someone may have seen something suspicious around the site at that time.
"This was a very significant fire, so the person responsible is likely to have 'bragged' about his/her actions."
We would like to hear from anyone who may have knowledge of this fire or who is responsible for this intentional and senseless criminal behaviour.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier on 07 213 0417.
Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
9.49am: A police spokesperson says it is too soon to say whether or not the large fire at the bridge construction on Domain Road, Papamoa was set deliberately.
"Police will be meeting with Fire Safety today, working to establish how the fire started.
"In the meantime, if anyone does have any information about last night's fire please contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300."
Fire representatives have said they are no longer able to comment as it has now gone into a police investigation.
NZTA Waikato/ Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said emergency services were called to the Tauranga Eastern Link project as an embankment on the State Highway 2 Domain Rd interchange was on fire.
"Thankfully the site was closed at the time and no workers were hurt.
"We do not know the cause of the fire at this stage but police will be investigating the site.
"There has been damage, however the extent of the damage and the overall impact on the project will not be clear until the site is deemed safe and our engineers can investigate.
"There will be little to no impact on motorists over the coming days as the area of the fire is off the state highway."
8.23am: An overpass bridge at Domain Rd has "quite substantial damage inside" this morning after a fire last night.
Papamoa deputy chief fire officer Brent Sandford said the fire was being treated as suspicious.
A fire investigator will go on site today to find the cause.
He said the foam stacked under and inside the bridge, surrounded by concrete, had caught fire.
"Trying to get access was the main problem because it was inside the bridge and under the road."
It took five fire trucks and about 24 people nearly four hours until they could safely leave the scene.
"I believe there is quite substantial damage inside."
He said it was about the sixth suspicious fire they had had in the area since the old Papamoa Hall had burnt down.
The police had been notified of the fires.
EARLIER: A large fire broke out in Papamoa last night producing a large amount of thick smoke.
Fire crews from Papamoa, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui battled the blaze after multiple 111 calls, fire shift commander Dallas Ramsay said.
Ms Ramsay said the fire appeared to be underneath a new bridge, and video footage of the fire said it was near the Domain Rd roundabout.
Papamoa volunteers responded to the first call and Tauranga and Mount Maunganui crews were called in for more man power.
Ms Ramsay said it appeared to have been polystyrene that caught fire, producing "thick smoke covering the area".