Protesters block major Tauranga highway to call on government to fix deadly stretch of road - 'stop letting people die like this'

Protesters have blocked a major Tauranga highway today to call for major safety updates to be made to a deadly stretch of road.

Busy weekend traffic came to a halt as hundreds marched across Wairoa Bridge, which has already claimed dozens of lives.

Fix the Bloody Road safety campaigner Andrew Hollis said, "I've spoken personally with tow truck drivers that tow trucks away still with bodies in them. It's happening about once every quarter."

The protesters blocked State Highway 2 for half an hour to call for upgrades to the road.

"Just fix the road, man. Stop letting people die like this for no reason," one protester said.

In the last six years to March 2018, 21 people have been killed on the 37-kilometre stretch of road between Katikati and Tauranga.

While the National Land Transport programme recently allocated billions to improve regional roads, the Tauranga road is still under evaluation to see how it can be made safer – a process which could take four months.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said, "that bit of road is about to get significant safety improvements. We're investing in 26 intersection upgrades, side barriers and widening the central barrier."

$100 million will be spent on safety between Waihi and Omokoroa, but protesters say a four-lane highway must be built.

"What we're trying to do is get four lanes with a median strip from Takatimu Drive in Tauranga to Francis Road in Omokoroa," Mr Hollis said.

The government says they do not want more lives to be lost and has acknowledged that the infrastructure is not up to speed.

Hundreds of campaigners marched across Wairoa Bridge today. Source: 1 NEWS