Tauranga locals can expect to see “major traffic delays” and “severe congestion” as two busy roads are closed early this week.

A section of SH29A between Barkes Corner and Oropi Road Roundabout was closed yesterday afternoon after a large tomo, or cavity was discovered under the road.

While an investigation is currently underway, it’s believed the three-metre-deep hole was caused by a failed stormwater drain.

“Until investigations reveal the extent of the repair, the timeframe for re-opening is unknown at this stage,” a Tauranga City Council spokesperson said.

In addition to the SH29A closure, an “unavoidable” lane closure on Totora Street is also set to take place.

“Unfortunately, Totara Street cannot be opened to two lanes due to partially completed road rebuilding work,” the council said.

It’s expected the work will be complete on Wednesday morning, with “contractors working around the clock to finish as quickly as possible”.

The council said it is doing “all it can to help the situation”, with the eastbound Hewlett’s bus lane open for all vehicles.

Because both roads are major routes in and out of Mount Maunganui, motorists are being asked to plan their journeys ahead of time.

“Detours are in place for both roads, but the Council strongly urges motorists to delay unnecessary travel, use alternative transport, or work from home until Wednesday if possible.

“Thanks to the community for their patience and understanding while work is underway to repair both roads.”