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SH1 Whāngārei to Wellsford


SH1 Whāngārei to Wellsford safety improvements

State Highway 1 (SH1) between Whāngārei and Wellsford is classified as a high-risk rural road. 40 people have lost their lives and 123 have been seriously injured in the past 10 years on this 80km stretch.

Last year we met with your community to hear how we can make this increasingly busy road safer. It’s clear everyone agrees something needs to be done, and your feedback has helped us develop the safety improvements.

There’s support to put in wide centrelines and shoulders so there’s more room, as well as better signs and road markings to warn you of what’s further down the road. You would also like to see fewer pot holes and a road that is less likely to flood.

We are working through securing funding for the first stages of this project. All going to plan, safety improvements will start late next year with the focus on the section between Whāngārei and Port Marsden Highway (SH15).



We’re making SH1 safer

Most serious crashes between Whāngārei to Wellsford involved drivers losing control of their vehicle or hitting another vehicle head-on as well as crashes at intersections.  We’re focussed on making this stretch of road safer.

The project has been split into three sections because it is so long. 

  • Northern section – SH1 Whāngārei to SH1/SH15 Port Marsden Highway
  • Central section – SH1/SH15 Port Marsden Highway to the northern base of the Brynderwyn Hills
  • Southern section – SH1/SH12 Brynderwyn Hills to SH1 Wellsford, including the safety improvements to the townships of Te Hana and Kaiwaka.

Our initial focus is on the northern section because of the higher number of deaths and serious injuries on this busier stretch of SH1.

The improvements we’re looking at include:

  • Side and median flexible safety barriers to stop your vehicle before you hit something harder like a tree, power pole or, in the case of median barriers, an oncoming vehicle.
  • Wide centrelines to steer drivers away from each other.
  • Better signs and road markings to warn drivers of intersections, stop signs or sharp curves further down the road.
  • Safer speeds to allow drivers time to react to a mistake and recover.

Ahead of these improvements, on SH1 between Toetoe Road and Oakleigh Wharf Road, 10km of wide centreline with Safe Hit posts were installed in June to deter deliberate overtaking manoeuvres, which are the leading cause of head-on crashes. In the six months since these improvements were made, there have been no head-on crashes in this section of SH1.

For more on the long-term SH1 Whāngārei to Te Hana project visit



What’s happening and when

Early 2019
Community engagement – we will have conversations with local communities and regular road users on the northern section to ensure the preferred option works for those who know the local roads the best.

Work will start on safety improvements to Loop Road North and Portland Road intersections, including a new roundabout at Loop Road North.

Mid 2019
We will finalise designs and seek approvals for the northern section - Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway.

From late 2019
It is proposed that safety improvements will be implemented in stages from late 2019. Improvements along the whole route will continue to be investigated.



Why is it taking so long?

The Government has released its transport priorities and is focused on delivering a safer transport network free of death and injury. We remain committed to making this a safer stretch of road, so that people who use it and live along it can enjoy safer journeys.

It’s important we make improvements that are right for the road, and that work for the local community. This is a long stretch of road with an unfortunate history of crashes and we’ve had to investigate a wide range of options to ensure we get it right.



Take care over the busy summer period

Lastly, we ask you to take extra care over the busy summer period on our roads. In the holidays there’s increased traffic volumes, drivers are tired and people are driving on unfamiliar roads.

Please be courteous to ensure your travel is a safe and pleasurable experience for you and others on the road.



Keep in touch


For more information on the SH1 Whāngārei to Wellsford project, contact us at

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