Numerous Tauranga roads had cars crawling along yesterday, stretching down roads and sitting in line while the minutes ticked by.

A Tauranga business leader said the heavy congestion caused by the shooting-related State Highway 2 road closures showed the "little resilience" across the region's transport network.

Valentine's Day deliveries were delayed because of the Tauranga road closure.

A roadblock at Bethlehem roundabout as police search SH2. Photo / Andrew Warner
A roadblock at Bethlehem roundabout as police search SH2. Photo / Andrew Warner

People were encouraged to work from home as SH2 between Waihi Rd off-ramp and Cameron Rd was closed after the fatal police firearms incident on Thursday night.

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Long delays had been expected and the closures and detours remained in place well into the day.

At one stage traffic had been reported as backed right up to McLaren Falls.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said gridlock traffic quickly caused massive productivity losses for the local economy.

"It is often the small businesses and sole traders that suffer the most, particularly in the construction and logistics sectors, who are penalised for not meeting timeframe KPIs.

Cowley said it showed Tauranga's transport network had "very little resilience across the city", from Pāpāmoa to the region's northern corridor.

"The 40,000 residents in Pāpāmoa are all too familiar with their lack of connections. This reinforces the Government's decision to build the Northern Link."

Bethlehem Floral Studio owner Vicky Ferguson said they had 150 orders they were trying to get delivered for Valentine's Day.

She said they had four florists and two delivery men on board yesterday, plus metro couriers.

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Vicky Ferguson, owner of Bethlehem Floral Studio. Photo / Andrew Warner
Vicky Ferguson, owner of Bethlehem Floral Studio. Photo / Andrew Warner

Ferguson said the traffic had mostly affected them in terms of making everyone late for deliveries.

"They all have to be out today for Valentine's Day, otherwise we are in trouble with the customers."

However, only one of their staff members got caught up in traffic getting to work.

"We were lucky in that respect."

She said Valentine's Day was a super busy one for them every year.

Florist Sue O'Brien said the kind of traffic that backed up was typical of any type of accident.

"But they have to do what have to do."

Ralph Harvey getting ready to brave the roads for Valentine's Day deliveries. Photo / Andrew Warner
Ralph Harvey getting ready to brave the roads for Valentine's Day deliveries. Photo / Andrew Warner

A spokeswoman at Bethlehem College said the closing of SH2 had affected students getting to school on time.

Yesterday was the Year 9 to 13 athletics day at the Tauranga Domain, which had complicated matters further.

Police search SH2. Photo / Andrew Warner
Police search SH2. Photo / Andrew Warner

Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon said teachers and students were affected by the delays. Teachers were asked to be adaptable and bring any students that did not have teachers into their classes.

Bethlehem Primary School principal Brian Field said some children did not come to school yesterday because of the traffic hold-ups.

The traffic was "quite bad" but had eased in the afternoon and parents were told they could pick their children up earlier at 1.30pm to ease the stress of the traffic.

On Thursday, the school had a PTA meeting from 7pm to 8.30pm but did not see or hear anything.

Police outside Bethlehem Primary yesterday morning. Photo / Andrew Warner
Police outside Bethlehem Primary yesterday morning. Photo / Andrew Warner

Bethlehem Motors owner Craig Major said yesterday morning they had a car sitting on the hoist in the garage waiting for parts.

"Getting parts from town is bad on a daily basis, let alone when the road is closed."

He said three members were late to work from being stuck in traffic and there had also been some delays in customers turning up for appointments.

"It's frustrating that sort of thing is happening in Tauranga nowadays, and the impact one person has on thousands of people.

"It's a real shame."

Traffic builds up on Waihi Rd. Photo / Andrew Warner
Traffic builds up on Waihi Rd. Photo / Andrew Warner

Te Tuinga Whānau executive director Tommy Wilson said it took him two and a half hours to get from his home in Te Puna to his office in Greerton.

District commander Superintendent Andy McGregor apologised to the community, but said making them use a detour was necessary.

He had said a large team was investigating in the area and it had been hoped the major thoroughfare would be reopened later yesterday morning or early afternoon.

Tauranga City Council said police roadblocks were affecting contractors' ability to collect rubbish, recycling and glass in some suburbs of Tauranga.

They included Bellevue, Bethlehem (north), Brookfield, Bureta, Judea (north), Ōtumoetai, and Matua.

The council said their contractors would do their best to complete yesterday's collection by working late. Those households that could not be serviced yesterday would be serviced today.

Cordon on State Highway 2. Photo / Andrew Warner
Cordon on State Highway 2. Photo / Andrew Warner