A man in his 60s and a 27-year-old Pāpāmoa man were killed in two separate fatal crashes this weekend.
The man in his 60s was killed instantly after his white Honda crossed the centre line and smashed into another car on State Highway 2 at Whakamarama mid-morning yesterday.
Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the two-vehicle crash happened at 11.05am about 200m from the intersection with Gill Lane.
The sole occupant and driver of a red Nissan received moderate leg injuries and was taken to Tauranga Hospital for treatment, he said.
Hunter said the fatality happened as police were responding to 111 calls from members of the public who reported seeing the deceased's Honda cross the centre line a number of times between Katikati and Tauranga.
A police officer with his patrol car's lights and sirens on desperately tried to get there to intercept the Honda, he said.
Hunter said just before Snodgrass Rd the officer learned that the Honda had crossed the centre line again and crashed into the Nissan.
"One more minute and the officer probably could have got there in time," he said.
The man driving the Honda, who did not live locally, died instantly, Hunter said.
SH2 was closed for several hours between Munro Rd and Snodgrass Rd intersections.
A 27-year-old pedestrian from Pāpāmoa was also killed after he was hit by a truck on State Highway 29A near Maungatapu Bridge at 4.40am on Saturday.
Hunter said the pedestrian had been standing in the left-hand lane as the refrigerator truck headed towards Whakatāne. Police inquiries were continuing, he said.
The Serious Crash Unit was investigating both fatalities, and the identity of both the deceased would be released once their next-of-kin were informed, police said.
Whakamarama and Te Puna residents were quick to highlight the need for urgent safety improvements on State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati.
The stretch of highway is considered to be one of the country's most dangerous.
Gill Lane resident Glenn Wilson said he and his family had only lived in the area for about 18 months and in that time there had been at least half a dozen "really bad crashes".
"This will keep happening time and time again unless the Government urgently does something about this stretch of highway. We need this down as a top priority," he said.
Frustrated Te Puna residents Sean Lett and Jean-Pierre Joubert, who are both members of the Fix the Bloody Road group, agreed.
"This road is no longer fit for purpose. We need a four-lane highway all the way to Katikati as this is the only way to fix the road and cut our horrific road toll, " Joubert said.
The Whakamarama fatality happened about 40 minutes after police were also called to an incident in Levers Rd in Matua.
A police spokeswoman said a child received minor injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle about 10.20am.