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SH1/SH3 Bulls to Sanson speed review project update
5 July 2023


Image: Crews are busy building the temporary road alignment.


Construction underway on temporary roads for Pukenui Road roundabout and user path project

Construction of the temporary roads on State Highway 1/3 outside RNZAF Base Ohakea is well underway.

As part of a package of safety improvements for SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson, a new roundabout and shared user path are being constructed in the next 15 months.

Stage one of this project is building two temporary roads; one along the eastern side of SH1/3, and the other constructed between Pukenui Road and the western side of SH1/3. A temporary roundabout will be built at the roads’ tie-in points.

The temporary road layout allows for traffic to keep moving steadily through the site while construction of the permanent roundabout is underway. These roads should look and feel just like it does when travelling on a normal state highway. We aim to reroute traffic onto the temporary roads at the end of July. In order to move traffic from SH1/3 and onto the new temporary road alignment, there will be some stop/go works in place overnight and this will be communicated to the public well in advance. At this stage, this stop/go is planned for the last week of July and will take place over five nights.

There are temporary speed limits in place around the construction site, and these are to keep both motorists and the crews working on the ground safe. There will also be temporary lower speed limits in place on the temporary roads.

We appreciate everyone’s patience at this time while these important safety improvements are carried out.



Image: Two temporary roads are being built around the Pukenui Road construction site, allowing for a steady flow of traffic while construction is underway.




Temporary speed limits are in place for safety

Traffic management is staged throughout construction to keep disruption to road users as minimal as possible.

Construction of the temporary roads is taking place during the day. When crews are onsite, a 30km/h temporary speed limit is in place through the main worksite at the Pukenui Road intersection. This is increased to 50km/h when the site is unattended. Contractors are on site between 6.30am – 6.00pm (to allow set up and pack down) Monday – Friday and some Saturdays.

After taking onboard community feedback and reviewing the traffic management plan, we've made some changes to speeds on either side of the construction area. Around the Bulls Bridge and Wilson Road areas, the speed limit is now 50km/h when crews are on site and 70km/h when unattended. These temporary speed limits are to help keep traffic moving as efficiently and safely as possible throughout the construction period.

We've recently increased the amount of signage at the intersection to further help motorists. This includes having Bulls and Sanson directional signs, and also signs that clearly show when the merge lane at the Pukenui Rd intersection is closed.

We appreciate that it may take a little more time for some motorists using the Pukenui Road intersection to find a gap in traffic during peak hours, however, traffic management vehicles are doing rolling passes during peak times to create gaps for traffic, and this has been working well. We're also working closely alongside NZDF to make sure staff are able to enter and exit safely amid the construction period.

While we have temporary speed limits in place for everyone's safety, enforcing speed limits sits with police. Further conversations were held last week and police are increasing their presence around the site to help mitigate some of the driver behaviour we are seeing.

Always take care when driving through our road work sites and follow the temporary speed restrictions to ensure everyone stays safe on our roads.



Image: Crews are currently building the temporary road on the western side of SH1/3.




Image: Diggers in action on the eastern side of SH1/3.




Image: Construction on the western temporary road is underway and can be seen behind Mike and Hayden, our partners at Stantec and Fulton Hogan.




Construction stages

Stage one: May – August 2023

The construction of the temporary road alignment, including a temporary roundabout at the roads' tie-in points, is underway.

Stage two: Late July/ August 2023

We will move traffic onto the newly constructed temporary roads that skirt around the construction site during the last week of July. This will include stop/go works at night. If wet weather causes delays, then this will be delayed until early August.

Stage three: August 2023 – February 2024

Earthworks and drainage, and the start of construction of the new permanent roundabout will take place. Concrete, pavement, and surfacing works will take place, and work will begin on the shared user path.

Stage four: February – May 2024

There will be further drainage, pavement and surfacing works, and final works on the shared user path will be completed.

Stage five: April – mid 2024

Further earthworks will be completed, including final pavement and surfacing works. The project is expected to wrap up by July 2024.



A closer look at the permanent roundabout design

Construction on the permanent roundabout will begin in stage three in August, after the construction of the temporary road alignment.

The new permanent roundabout that will be constructed at the intersection of Pukenui Road and SH1/3 outside Base Ohakea will be three-armed and double-laned. There will be two approach (turning) lanes from each direction, with two straight lanes in both directions of travel along the state highway.

Having designated turning lanes means people turning in and out of Pukenui Road can do so safely. Having straight lanes allows for a steady and continuous flow of traffic along SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson.

A roundabout is a safer form of intersection control compared to most other intersection types. Roundabouts reduce speeds and make it easier for you to choose the right time to enter flowing traffic.

A roundabout at this location will make the intersection safer, and will also reduce delays to vehicles coming out of Pukenui Road. This will become more important as traffic on this road increases with developments at Base Ohakea and the construction of a new commercial vehicle safety centre (formerly weigh station) which will be built next to the intersection.

The shared user path for pedestrians and cyclists will run along the western side of the state highway between Pukenui Road and the Bulls Bridge, making it safer for people to use other modes of transport.



Road to Zero - our road safety strategy

SH1/3 Bulls to Sanson safety improvements are delivering to Road to Zero, our road safety strategy.

Road to Zero sets us on a path to achieve Vision Zero, an Aotearoa where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. As a step towards Vision Zero, the Road to Zero strategy sets an initial target of reducing deaths and serious injuries by 40% by 2030.

To do this we need to create a safe transport system; one that recognises humans make mistakes and is designed so that these mistakes do not need to cost us our lives. Steady progress towards this target would mean approximately 750 fewer people would be killed and 5,600 fewer would be seriously injured on our roads by 2030.

Watch: Find out more about our Road to Zero strategy here.


More information


To find out more about the project, visit our website

The project team can also be contacted at

Learn more about Road to Zero here