The man who crashed his 4WD into a power pole, forcing the closure of State Highway 2 this morning, allegedly ran from the scene and attempted to hitch a ride with other drivers.

The crash caused power lines to fall over the highway at the Wharawhara Rd intersection near Katikati just after 8am.

Power was knocked out to the township, sending the main street shops into darkness.

A NZTA spokeswoman said the highway has since re-opened but advised delays could be possible as the area around the power pole was cordoned off and a slower speed zone was in place until repairs can be made.


Katikati volunteer fire brigade station officer Brendan Gibbs said the driver came out of Wharawhara Rd and lost control of the vehicle, sliding into the pole.

The driver then got out of the car and ran down the road, attempting to hitch a ride with oncoming drivers, Mr Gibbs said.

But the man was picked up by police instead.

It is understood alcohol was a factor.

The road remains closed, with diversions in place along Tetley Rd and Marshall Rd.

Power was expected to be restored to Katikati by 11am but parts of the town were still without by lunchtime today.

Powerco stated power should be restored by 1pm.

Head of Western Bay of Plenty road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the section of highway near Wharawhara Rd was closed to traffic in both directions but police had arranged the diversions.

Mr Campion said the road was closed in both directions because the power lines had fallen across both lanes.

The driver was not seriously hurt.