'Don't let us die': Frustrated Bay of Plenty locals protest deadly stretch of SH2

Frustration with deaths on State Highway 2 bubbled over on Sunday as protesters blocked the road.

Hundreds of people blocked the Wairoa Bridge to protest a lack of safety improvements on the road, saying they don't want more people to die.

They were loud, but were also silent - at the forefront of their minds were the family friends and community members who had lost their lives on the stretch of road.

"This road takes lives and we've had enough. This road took my dad at the end of last year," said one protestor, while another said "every time the sirens go off, we're just wondering who's next".

The road between Tauranga and Waihi has been the site of numerous crashes over the years, and locals say it needs an urgent upgrade.

"We just want four lanes with a median barrier to Omokoroa, and the safety works from Omokoroa through to Waihi," explained protester Andrew Hollis.

"I think they're frustrated because there's a lack of transparency, there's a lack of accountability and, quite frankly, there's a lack of care," said Matthew Farrell, one of the protest's organisers.

Mr Farrell said the stretch of road, including between Katikati and Tauranga, was among the country's most deadly. He said all plans to make the roads safer have been put on the back-burner.

'Fix the Bloody Road' campaigners are demanding that the four lanes to Omokoroa are given median barriers and more safety measures.

National Party leader and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges also attended the protest.

Sunday's protest is just the beginning; campaigners want a moratorium on housing in the area until the roading catches up.

The bridge was reopened in the afternoon.