Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH2 Wairarapa highway improvements

12 December 2023

Check out this front garden in Moreton Road, Carterton before Boxing Day!


Check out this front garden in Moreton Road, Carterton before Boxing Day!



Welcome to our December update

As we drive toward the Christmas and New Year holidays, it’s a good time to update you with the latest information on the Masterton to Carterton Safety Improvement Project.

We had planned to finish work on this project before Christmas. The frequent bouts of wet weather have certainly affected our planned work programme, however, most of the heavy work will be done by this side of the holidays, and we’ve made good progress. Take a look at a video that captured a night with crews at the Ngaumutawa roundabout recently.

We now know that there’ll be some jobs that we’re not able to get done this side of Christmas, and we’ll have to finish those off early next year.

Between now and when contractors get back on site, drivers will see the white line marking on the roundabouts. The final markings will be put down once the final asphalt is in place early next year.

The material used for these final markings is called HPLL – a highly durable product that provides excellent visibility in all weather and light conditions. These will be placed in the same alignment as the current lime markings, so drivers won’t notice any difference with how they use the roundabouts.

People may notice some outstanding pavement repairs because some rough sections of the road will be visible. These are largely through the central part of the project and off to the side of the traffic lanes, so should not affect traffic flow too much.

In the new year, people may see spots of traffic management around small work sites and a bit of machinery but otherwise, it should be smooth running.



Road condition at Clareville

Repairs to the southbound and northbound lanes near Clareville were attended to within hours of a chipseal melting problem reported to NZTA late last month. Any remaining potholes will continue to be worked on throughout the duration of the project. 
Our team of engineers are continuing to investigate the melting of the road surface and are working on plans to have a strong road surface in place. Over the past couple of weeks asphalt has been placed in the northbound and southbound lanes. Asphalt is a long-term option that should not see the same issues previously experienced.

Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, you may notice a somewhat patchy appearance in the road surface north of Clareville and around the new roundabouts. This is a result of the specific improvements undertaken for each section. The final topcoat of chipseal for these areas is due to be completed during the summer period to achieve a cohesive and finalised surface.

We had hoped to get this finished by now, but we’re focusing on building a road surface and pavement that’s well-structured and will stand up to the heavy traffic flows that will only increase over the years on our Wairarapa roads.



What’s happening now?

From now until 22 December, a tremendous amount of work will be happening on our Wairarapa roads at night by an array of specialist contractors.  The final stage of works will involve:

  • Placing chipseal on roads, especially to roundabout approaches,
  • Final painted road line marking,
  • A raised pedestrian crossing at Ngaumutawa roundabout,
  • Installing the final items of signage, lighting, pavement repairs, and median barrier ends,
  • Various tidy up works, such as finishing fencing, drainage and landscaping.


What’s happening over the holidays?

Major road works finish on Thursday 14 December for the year, with some minor works continuing until 22 December.

Project work starts again on Monday 8 January.

You’ll see crews attending to smaller jobs in the week of 18-22 December, but there won’t be any stop/go traffic management in place. 

Please take care around our fantastic road crews, who are doing their utmost to keep our roads in good condition for your enjoyment and safety.

Between Christmas and New Year, a stand-by crew will be on call to attend to any urgent road repairs.



How do I report an issue?

We really do our best to be mindful about any potential impacts of our work and how it will affect everyone. Sometimes, there are things we can’t control but we’re always monitoring the situation. 

If you ever need to report an incident or concern about a highway, please call the freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 44 44 49.  These calls are received by NZTA’s national call centre, which is staffed 24/7 – every day of the year. 

Use this number to report issues impacting highways, or even to get the latest state highway travel information. For questions about the SH2 Wairarapa project, email us at SH2Wairarapa@nzta.govt.nz.



The Masterton to Carterton site project office at Norfolk Road, Masterton.

We couldn’t do it without you!

Please factor in potential delays to travel plans.  Our contractors are making every effort to get this specialised work done in the shortest time possible without compromising on the care needed to build this critical piece of highway.

For people using this very busy highway, we know that you just want to get to your destination as quickly as possible – without the hassle of road works slowing you down.

Large infrastructure projects such as this are incredibly complex, and we fully acknowledge that there are times when unexpected things happen.

Thanks for your continued patience and understanding.

Roadworks 101 - keeping everyone safe around roadworks here’s a quick video on why we use so many road cones!



Check out this video with Craig Bowyer, chair of the AA Wairarapa District—it's a great reminder of how the highway used to look before the roundabouts were built. The roundabouts are making a life-saving difference for safety and efficiency for Wairarapa’s people and businesses.

Each day 20,000 vehicles use the three new roundabouts we've built on SH 2 between Masterton and Carterton. The roundabouts are an important part of the upgrades we've made to the road, improving safety at intersections along the route.



The Masterton to Carterton safety improvement project plan on a page



The team calls into see Bruce Pauling. From left, NZTA’s Sam Dunshea; WSP Contract Manager, Trent Kleinsman; Wairarapa Road Safety Council’s Bruce Pauling, and NZTA’s Senior Safety Engineer, Errol Ritson.

National award recognises Wairarapa’s new crossings

Living Streets Aotearoa awarded NZTA, the ‘Urban Connection’ Golden Foot Award last year for the innovative design of pedestrian crossings being built in Featherston, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton.

The award recognised the significant shift in focus of vastly improved safety, and ease of getting onto and off the now-level crossings, especially for people pushing prams, using mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

The first raised pedestrian crossings were built in Featherston, Carterton and Masterton along SH 2.  These were selected in places that could help children walk to school, and to connect important walking routes in communities.

The award citation said, “this is a big departure from the car-centred thinking that used to dominate state highway management and only prioritised car travel.  Safer urban speeds are an important improvement for all road users.”

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot; promoting walking-friendly communities.  It’s a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout the country.

From the feedback received so far, the first three platforms have made a big difference to walking trips and pedestrian safety in Featherston, Carterton, and Masterton, says Errol Ritson, NZTA Senior Safety Engineer.

Raised safety platforms aren’t the same as typical speed humps seen in supermarket carparks. Raised platforms at pedestrian crossings are designed to make vehicles slow down to around 25km/h.  This means if someone’s hit by a vehicle, the most likely outcome is that they’ll walk away from the incident with minor injuries.

“Our bodies have a limited ability to withstand crash forces without being seriously injured or killed,” Errol explains.

These new crossings are specially designed to ensure people walking across don’t get hit by a vehicle travelling above 25km/h because the ramp’s approach gradient and height make driving uncomfortable if vehicles go over too fast.

Taking human vulnerability into account in the earliest design phases, known as ‘primary safe system intervention’, means these systems will reduce or virtually eliminate death and serious injury if a pedestrian crossing incident does happen.

Raised platform crossings combine several safety features which encourage drivers to slow down, including:

  • Platform height of up to 10cm
  • Concrete kerb extensions for better visibility
  • Special lanes marked out for cyclists
  • Limit lines – these indicate where vehicles should stop
  • Painted sharks-teeth pattern to warn of the approaching platform
  • Crossings constructed to footpath level either side of road (no more dangerous dips for wheelchairs or mobility scooters to traverse)
  • Approach warning signs
  • Advisory speed signage, warning drivers to slow down and approach at 25km/h or less
  • Upgraded LED lighting for better visibility in darkness.

One of the most important but barely noticeable new features is having the entire crossing at the same level at each side of the road. This makes getting on and off, the crossing so much easier for people pushing prams, using wheelchairs, mobility scooters, schoolchildren, or smaller kids with bikes.

There’s also a special space marked out for cyclists at crossings’ pinch points.



Have you heard about our plans? The team working on the Wairarapa raised pedestrian crossings called into talk to nearby business owners earlier this year. Here the team discusses plans with Jane Smith, owner of Lorna Potter Hair, Spa and Health in Masterton.

The kerb buildouts and limited parking on a crossing’s approach enhances visibility and helps people see and identify each other - allowing pedestrians to recognise when they're noticed and when it’s safe to cross, and for motorists to judge whether or not they need to stop.

This collaborative effort between NZTA and South Wairarapa District Council, Carterton District Council and Masterton District Council will see 24 raised pedestrian crossings installed along SH 2 and SH 53 over the next three years.

Looking ahead in the short-term, five crossings have funding approval to be built in the coming months: two in Masterton, one in Carterton, one in Greytown, and one in Featherston.



Latest safety ratings live on Rightcar

New safety ratings for most cars and other light vehicles in Aotearoa New Zealand are now live on the Rightcar website, run by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi to help Kiwis find safe, clean and efficient cars.

The updated (2023) safety ratings, apply to the vast majority of used cars, SUVs, utes and other light vehicles on our roads, and provide the best indication of how much protection a vehicle provides in a crash.

Around 900,000 used light vehicles’ safety ratings have changed compared to their 2022 star-safety ratings, based on the latest independent analysis of real-world crash data from Aotearoa and Australia.

So, make sure you visit Rightcar to check the latest safety rating of vehicles you own or are interested in – and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Remember, you’re twice as safe in a 5-star safety rated car than you are in a 1-star safety rated car.



The team from NZTA Waka Kotahi, our contractors and everyone involved in our work in the Wairarapa, wish everyone a super holiday season and all the very best for the coming year!



More information


If you know anyone who might be interested in these updates, they can sign up on this webpage here.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback you can get in touch by phone on 0800 353 824 or email us at SH2Wairarapa@nzta.govt.nz.

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