An influx of traffic travelling into Tauranga is adding hours on to travel time, leaving motorists fed up.

Events such as the Black Caps v Bangladesh T20 games and the Mount Festival of Multisport brought crowds into the city over the weekend but led to cars being bumper to bumper, crawling to their destinations.

Read more: $520m bypass for busy Tauranga bottleneck

Tauranga man Sven Hodkinson became stuck in traffic north of the Waihi Beach turn-off on Friday.


"It's actually quite embarrassing for Tauranga as a city - to put events on but to not provide the infrastructure they need."

Mr Hodkinson said traffic was stopping and crawling at best about 3km in five minute intervals. When he spoke with the Bay of Plenty Times, he had been stuck in the traffic for 45 minutes from before the Waihi Beach turn-off and had yet to reach Katikati.

Mr Hodkinson contacted Tauranga City Council to find out why and was told it was due to roundabout road works at Te Puna.

A Bay of Plenty Times reporter said traffic was backed-up from Clarke Rd, Te Puna, until Bethlehem travelling towards the city at 11am on Friday.

However, traffic issues on that stretch of State Highway 2 were not limited to the weekend, according to locals.

Senior Katikati firefighter Brendan Gibbs said during the holiday season it could take an hour and a half to travel from Waihi to Katikati and then another two hours to travel from Katikati to Tauranga, a trip which normally took about 35 minutes.

Katikati/Waihi Ward councillor David Marshall described the traffic over the weekend and the holiday period as "pretty horrific".

It took family members of Mr Marshall's four hours to drive from Auckland to Katikati during the New Year.

The traffic inconvenienced locals too, with Mr Marshall seeing many "near accidents" with people trying to turn across traffic to go north on State Highway 2.

"Everyone talks about it."

A Katikati bypass would "restore the town to normal," he said.

Katch Katikati promotion manager Jacqui Knight said "pinch points" such as the pedestrian lights in Katikati and in Bethlehem contributed to the build up of traffic.

"It's been a nightmare, it's very frustrating."

She said a bypass would help ease the traffic and make it easier for locals to travel.

NZ Transport Agency Bay of Plenty State Highways Manager Niclas Johansson said mid-2017 would be when locals should have clarity about any "changes that will be made".

"The Minister of Transport Simon Bridges asked us take a fresh look at the Katikati section of the Waihi to Tauranga programme. So since July 2016, we have been looking at the transport issues and community aspirations in Katikati with our partners and local stakeholders."

A police spokesperson said no issues had been reported during the weekend.

For information about holiday road spots go to:
- Additional reporting Kiri Gillespie