The crash that killed two people on the Hawke's Bay Expressway has prompted the NZ Transport Agency to introduce plans for median barriers at the site.

The NZTA is currently carrying out a safety improvement programme on stretches of State Highway 2 between Bay View and Paki Paki.

The improvements, which include median barriers, are an important safety measure to prevent the devastating impact of head-on crashes, NZTA senior project manager Rob Partridge says.

But until Friday's crash, understood to be a head-on collision, the improvement plans didn't include a median barriers on the stretch of the expressway between Taradale Rd and the Kennedy Rd overbridge.

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Battle For Life promoter and trainer Patrick Tama O'Brien, from Flaxmere, and retired farmer Tony Anderson, from Napier, were killed in the two-car crash.

Tributes have been flowing for both men.

"An initial decision had been made not to put a median barrier in the section of the road where the crash occurred, as it was generally slower and the section was quite short between the bridge and roundabout," Partridge said.

"However, following the fatal crash we are now looking to install median barriers at this section early next year."

He said the NZTA was deeply saddened by the crash and thoughts were with the families and friends of the two men who died.