A truck that lost its wheel near Te Maunga on State Highway 2 yesterday is the second to have done so in just over a month.
The 10-wheeler had been travelling north when the wheel came off at about 10.40am.
Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the truck lost its wheel about 1km north of Bruce Rd where the last incident happened.
The truck had been travelling in a 50km/h lane moved by cones as work was being done on the road's surface on the other side of the highway.
As the truck travelled through the roadworks its left front wheel grazed the roadside barrier.
Mr Campion said it appeared to loosen the nuts on the wheel as the driver felt the truck wobbling as he continued to drive.
The driver pulled over and as he stopped, the wheel dropped off. The tyre and rim had come away from the hub and it ended up on the side of the road.
Traffic was flowing steadily when emergency services arrived, Mr Campion said.
Men working on the Tauranga Eastern Link development waved traffic down to a slow speed on either side of the incident.
The driver, who was not hurt, was helped by the men to change the wheel and the truck was towed away shortly after.
Sergeant Dennis Hogan, of the police commercial vehicle investigation unit, said it was not uncommon for wheels to come off trucks if the nuts had not been tightened regularly.
"If they don't go back and re-torque them after 100k, especially on the left hand side of the vehicle, then they can loosen and need tightening up," Mr Hogan said. The problem can be more common on the left side because the wheels move in the opposite direction of how the nuts are tightened.
On August 13, two wheels joined together and their hub came away from a large truck in the same area of SH2.
The giant wheels smashed into the windscreen of an oncoming car.
The driver, 57-year-old John Robinson, said at the time he thought he was going to die.
On Wednesday this week, the Bay of Plenty Times reported the investigation into how the wheel came off the large truck had inconclusive results.
Mr Hogan said it was unusual for a hub to also come off a truck.
New Zealand Transport Agency state highways manager Brett Gliddon said the lane had not been narrowed but pushed over to the barrier, leaving no shoulder available for northbound traffic.
The width of the lane remained at 3.5m. The minimum a lane can go to is 3m and that would require a lower speed limit to be in place, Mr Gliddon said.
The lane was pushed over to allow Tauranga Eastern Link workers to shift concrete barriers on the other side of the highway.