Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH2 Wairarapa highway improvements

5 May 2023


May 2023 update

Welcome to our May update on the SH2 Masterton to Carterton safety improvement project.



Masterton to Carterton safety improvements

Most of the underground works, like drainage systems, service ducts and service relocations are nearing completion and you would have noticed more visible works now taking place above ground.

Construction of the Ngaumutawa roundabout is in full swing. All the surfaces at the intersection have been milled out, and preparation is now underway to stabilize it, after which it will be sealed to hold the surface until asphalt is laid.

A temporary roundabout will be set out in this location next week, to improve traffic flow from Ngaumutawa onto SH2 southbound. This will be in place until mid-May.

This is a major intersection, which adds complexity to the construction work. Please be patient when travelling through this area, especially during the morning and evening peaks, as delays are expected and are somewhat unavoidable. We'll seal these surfaces as quickly as possible, to reduce disruption to traffic flow.



The roundabouts at Wiltons Road and Norfolk Road are set out in their final locations and a temporary seal on these surfaces were completed prior to Easter weekend. The final seal and road markings will be laid late this year, once weather conditions are more suitable.

Most of the kerbs are in place and some traffic islands are still underway.

We're also in the process of laying down topsoil around the new Norfolk and Wiltons roundabouts. This is part of the preparation to get these areas ready for landscaping and planting later this year.

We've now started to lay the base layers of asphalt on the roundabouts, with the first sections completed at Wiltons roundabout. This work is weather-dependent and will be ongoing for the next few weeks, until all three roundabouts have an asphalt layer on them.

Widening of the road is ongoing in the mid-block sections. Some areas are still under preparation, whilst others have been stabilized and are ready for sealing.



A glance at what’s coming next

Retaining walls have been poured at the “John Deere corner” of Ngaumutawa, and the footpaths will follow in due course.

We've started to lay the base layers of asphalt, and this will be ongoing at Norfolk and Wiltons roundabouts during May. The final layers of asphalt will be done across all the roundabouts just before Christmas, as we need to wait for warmer, drier weather to do this.


Base layers of asphalt at East Taratahi Road


We've started the installation of light column bases, after which the light poles will be erected at both Norfolk and Wiltons roundabouts over the next few weeks, whilst traffic island construction will be ongoing at both roundabouts.

We’re aiming to start pouring the central island aprons at Wiltons and Ngaumutawa roundabouts by the end of May, and a pre-cast apron for the central island at Norfolk roundabout will be placed later in June.

Preparation, stabilising and sealing on both the north and south-bound lanes of the section between Wiltons roundabout and the southern turnaround will be ongoing.Over the next few weeks, we’ll be widening the road opposite the turnaround, and a right-hand turn pocket being installed

Temporary line marking will commence in May, whilst the final line marking will only be done at all three roundabouts in December upon completion of the final asphalt layers.

Central median barriers

In May the main roundabout construction will be winding down, and we’re turning our attention to one of the other major safety features of this project: the flexible median barrier system.

Flexible median barriers are a cost-effective safety system that can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in a crash by 75 percent.

By separating opposing traffic flows, high severity crashes are less likely to occur because people are physically separated from what may otherwise be a head-on collision.

If you hit a flexible barrier, the steel cables flex, slowing your vehicle and keeping it upright. The barriers absorb the energy of a crash so you and the people with you don’t.

The first section of barrier we’ll be installing will run between the roundabouts at Norfolk and Wiltons Road. Once this work is complete, you may need to use the roundabouts to make a safer turn in order to access properties along this stretch of SH2. By the conclusion of the project, barriers will run from the Norfolk Rd roundabout south to the southern turnaround, with a short section between Hughes Line and Chester Road.

To minimise disruption to traffic, we’ll be installing the median barriers at night. Aspects of the work will be unavoidably noisy but we'll do everything we can to minimise the disruption.

Barriers save lives

Footage captured in Dome Valley in January this year demonstrates the value of road safety barriers—this flexible median barrier saved a driver’s life, stopping them from having a head-on crash with a truck.

This video is from a truck driver’s dashcam and shows how flexible road safety barriers work: they keep you separated from oncoming traffic, slow you down, and help keep you upright.

The driver walked away from the crash and was able to go home that day.

Flexible median barrier stops a head-on crash

Road closures and stop / go traffic management

Areas of work which is disruptive to traffic and requires stop/go traffic management is done during nightshifts, where possible, to minimise disruption to traffic.



More information


Thank you to everyone using SH2 for your patience, care and understanding while driving past our work sites.

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.