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SH1 Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway safety improvements project update
3 July 2023

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Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway Safety Improvements gets the green light to go ahead, $270M approved.

Kia ora koutou,

$270M funding was recently approved for safety improvements between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP).

This funding is part of the Government’s NZUP stimulus package announced in 2020. It includes an investment of $6.8 billion across 20 transport projects nationwide to get our cities moving, save lives and boost productivity as the country recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.

The Whangārei to Port Marsden Highway Safety Improvements project aims to make the road safer and more forgiving of human error to help prevent further crashes, reduce the impact of crashes, and ensure the almost 20,000 people who travel this route daily get to their destination safely.

The project will provide additional safety measures between Tarewa Road in Whangārei and the SH15 Port Marsden Highway roundabout, including road widening, centre-median barriers, turnaround facilities, improved passing lanes as well as walking and cycling facilities and some signalised crossings in urban Whangārei.

The next stage for the project is engaging with communities to help inform and refine the detailed design. 

We’ll soon be in touch residents, communities, and key stakeholders in the coming months with opportunities to engage with the project team and provide feedback.


The map above shows the scope of the project between Tarewa Road and the Port Marsden Highway roundabout.


What happens next?

Now the business case is completed, the project will move into detailed design which includes planning where and how the safety measures will be implemented, where the turnaround bays will be located, understand what the upgraded walking and cycling facilities will look like and considering other measures such as raised speed platforms and traffic lights.

We’ll be engaging with hapū partners, residents, communities, and key stakeholders to help inform the detailed design understand property impacts as well as the consenting and procurement processes for the project.

Construction is expected to begin in late-2025 subject to all necessary approvals.

As an interim safety intervention and to start saving lives as soon as possible, we will be installing flexible safety posts in the centre of the road between Toetoe Road and Port Marsden Highway. Construction will take approximately three months, will be phased to minimise disruption and is expected to be completed this year.

We will provide more information on an estimated project programme for both the long-term and short-term safety improvements in the coming months.



What does the project mean for me and my property?

We understand that property owners neighbouring the state highway may be concerned about the project's impact on their property. We are refining the design to minimise any potential property impacts and will be in touch with those who may be affected later this year to let you know about any potential property impacts.

The implementation of turnaround bays and in some locations, the implementation of centre median barriers will require additional land where the current road corridor is too narrow to accommodate these safety improvements.

We are working to keep safety improvements within the current corridor where possible to minimise impact on property owners.

There won’t be any instances where we will require full property acquisition and, in most cases, it would only be a small piece of road frontage needed.



Will there be changes to the way I access the state highway?

Installing a centre median barrier may require changes to the way people access home and businesses along the state highway, and left-in, left-out turning movements may be required.

Turning bays will be installed to accommodate safe turning movements in both directions. Drivers will travel a short distance to the nearest intersection to make a safe right turn for travel in the opposite direction.


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Click the image above to see how a flexible median barrier prevented a head-on collision recently on SH1 Dome Valley


Why centre median barriers?

The number of people who have died or been seriously injured on the busy stretch of road between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway is tragic. In the past 10 years, 22 people have lost their lives and 73 people have been seriously injured in crashes along this stretch of highway.

Most of the crashes have been caused either by head-on collisions or by people turning onto or off the highway.

Installing centre media barriers prevents drivers from crossing the centreline and colliding with another vehicle and are highly effective in preventing people getting seriously hurt on our roads. Results show a 70-80 per cent reduction in road fatalities wherever they are installed.

When a vehicle hits these barriers the high-tension wire cables flex, slowing down the vehicle and redirecting it away from the hazard. This flexibility means that the barrier absorbs the energy, reducing the force on the people in the vehicles, resulting in less severe injuries than other safety barrier systems and from collision with roadside hazards or other vehicles.

Click the link below to watch a recent video of flexible median barriers in action just down the road at Dome Valley.

Watch the video



Stay up to date with all the work happening on SH1 between Auckland and Whangārei.

We know there are a lot of projects happening on SH1 between Auckland and Whangārei. To simplify things and make it easier to understand what is happening where and when, we’ve created a central information hub to explain all the projects and improvements we’re working on.

Click the link below to visit the website and view the map of work on this corridor.

Visit the website.