Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH1 Brynderwyn Hills recovery and enabling works

19 February 2024


Preparation work ahead of the 26 February closure

What’s been happening this week:

What a summer we are having! A stark contrast to this time last year.

We are grateful for the stunning weather as we prepare for the crucial recovery works on this vital SH1 connection for Northland.

In the leadup to the closure, we are working through the night at multiple sites in readiness for the major works to be undertaken. Night works will also continue seven days a week throughout the closure.

We have cleared vegetation and put in place sediment controls and drainage at two sites at the top of the hill.  

These measures are essential to manage and support the extensive excavation and works required to restore this section of the SH1 network to a pre-weather event level of service.



What’s happening next week

With 26 February just on the horizon, our focus will continue on our pre-closure preparatory works. Look out for another update next week.



We’re ready and raring to go!

Over the last couple of months, a concerted effort has been underway to ensure we are ready for the closure.  

Already, our crews have done 5000 hours of preparatory work on the Brynderwyn Hills and an additional 169 people have been employed – as well as a real gem with four legs called Pearl our Kiwi sniffing canine. 

At the same time our crews are doing extensive work along the scenic detour routes SH12/14, Paparoa Oakleigh Road, and Cove Road.

We recognise these detours will take longer, especially for freight, which is why we are working as quickly as possible to carry out this important work. This is a great opportunity to explore Northland and have an adventure while travelling along the scenic routes.

Steve and Pearl – Kiwi sniffer dog



Work during the closure

While we may not be moving mountains, we will be shifting the road closer to the hill, thereby creating additional width on the corridor to allow us to manage events on the hill without disrupting traffic. 

This includes a safety zone, offering additional protection for road workers and road users, which is something the road does not currently have. We will also complete any repairs needed to deliver a high level of service and reliability to the SH1 network. 

Due to the scale and complexity of the work, we have broken the project into 10 sections, with works occurring simultaneously across the different sites.

The work will involve:

  • 25 dump trucks (weighing in at 55 tonnes fully loaded).
  • Five excavation sites requiring two excavators and one bulldozer.
  • Two kilometres of concrete dish channel for drainage, pavement, and asphalt. 


Scenic detour routes

In last week’s newsletter we shared the three scenic detour routes: two local road detours (Paparoa Oakleigh Road and Cove Road) and the SH12 / SH14 detour.   

Our partners at Whangarei District Council (WDC) and Kaipara District Council (KDC) will look after the maintenance and restrictions on the Paparoa Oakleigh Road and Cove Road. During the closure:

  • Paparoa Oakleigh Road can be used by trucks and trucks with trailers, up to 50 tonnes.
  • The upper section of Cove Road, Waipu Gorge and Gorge Road are restricted to truck with trailer units. 

It may take some time as people adjust to the temporary routes. For local roads we ask you to contact the relevant council if you have any questions or feel the restrictions are not being followed. 

Contact Whangarei District Council

Contact Kaipara District Council

Contact NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi for SH12 / SH14



Meet the team- Paul Gibson, Fulton Hogan

We have a talented and interesting bunch of people working on the project and this week we would like to introduce you to Paul Gibson.

What is your role? 

I’m the Project Manager for the Brynderwyn Hills, overseeing the physical works along with two other Project Managers.

Tell us about a connection you have to the project or the area.

I have lived and worked in Northland most of my life. I also looked after the State Highway maintenance contract for a few years so the Brynderwyn Hills have featured heavily in both my personal and professional life.

Why is this project special? 

This section of highway forms part of the vital link to and from Northland. The residents of Northland rely on it, so it is essential we keep it safe and operational for many years to come.

What is your favourite place in Northland?                           

Pretty much any east coast beach! We are so lucky to have such great options here on our doorstep.

What do you get up to in your free time?

Family is important to me. I spend a lot of time at the beach with my wife and two young daughters. I also enjoy playing golf whenever I get the chance.



Check out our latest Brynderwyn Hills update video

Hear about the work to date and what still needs to happen during the closure. 



More information


For more information on the SH1 Brynderwyn Hills project, contact us at northlandproject@nzta.govt.nz

Visit our website www.nzta.govt.nz/brynderwyn-hills

To plan your journey visit http://journeys.nzta.govt.nz