Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH2 Wairarapa highway improvements

3 November 2023


Welcome to our November update

We’re pleased to inform you that the final road surfacing works for the Masterton to Carterton Safety Improvements Project started this week and will continue through to mid-December. We’re hoping for a good run of warm, dry weather to ensure that we can complete what is the final phase of the project.

Contractors will prepare the road surfaces to lay the top layers of asphalt and chip seal, which will be followed by painting the line marking. This will result in a smoother, safer journey for everyone.

Work will mostly be done at night.  Drivers travelling south from Masterton must be prepared to detour between Cornwall Rd and Hughes Line from 8 pm and 6 am, as required. Driving between Masterton and Carterton may mean having to a detour at night when crews are on the ground.

Works Schedule

  • Wednesday, 1 November to Thursday, 14 December. These works need dry weather to be successful. Rainfall during the project may affect completion targets and cause delays.
  • Works happen from Sunday to Thursday nights, 8 pm to 6 am. Contractors will start setting up traffic management from 7 pm. The work is carried out at night when traffic volumes are at their lightest. 
  • Temporary speed restrictions will be in place on newly sealed sections to allow the new road surface to bed in properly.

Please factor in potential delays to travel plans.  Our contractors are making every effort to get this specialised work done in the shortest time possible without compromising on the care needed to build this critical piece of highway.



A view of the highway before the median barriers were installed.



Mid-December target

Jetesh Bhula, Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, says the work will take around six weeks to complete but it must be done now so that the highway is ready for the summer holiday season.

“We realise this last step has been a while coming,” he says, “but the nature of road surfacing is such that it must be completed during warm and dry conditions to be effective and ensure the new road surface bonds properly. It couldn’t be done during winter’s wet and cold conditions.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bhula explains the newly installed median barriers are already proving their worth.

“There have already been three occasions when the median barrier has been hit. That’s three times they have stopped vehicles from heading into the oncoming lane and prevented a potential head-on collision.

“While this section of State Highway 2 is straight and perceived by many as being safe, the reality is that crashes can, and do, occur anywhere. Median barriers are a proven way of reducing deaths and injuries from head-on crashes.”

Waka Kotahi wants to thank residents and road users for their patience and understanding while the final stage of this project is completed.



Bruce Pauling takes time to share his thoughts, pictured here at the Clareville rest stop.

Some thoughts from Bruce Pauling about the project

“The Masterton to Carterton SH 2 safety improvements are nearing completion, and ‘fingers crossed’, the weather will ‘play ball’.

This has been the biggest roading project that a lot of Wairarapa commuters have ever seen. Locals have been wanting safety and accessibility improvements along this corridor for decades.

Following the technical planning and mandatory requirements for consultations, once the initial works began, contractors worked around the clock for many months to arrive at this near completion point.

Commuters were of course impacted, however doing all the ‘mahi’ over this period meant the project is to be completed in a much shorter time frame, rather than dragging on for a couple of years.

I think Waka Kotahi and contractors should be congratulated on this huge safety project.

We have already seen three ‘hits’ to the centre ‘wire rope’ barrier, which potentially prevented head-on collisions which often result in deaths and serious injuries.

The barriers will prevent future collisions of this nature, protecting people travelling along this corridor.

The Wairarapa Road Safety Council applaud any safety improvements that reduce the incidences of crashes, particularly in these high-speed environments.”

Bruce Pauling
Manager Wairarapa Road Safety Council



Building New Zealand roads – a quick overview

Check out this short video showing Rob Campbell, Waka Kotahi Regional Manger Waikato/BOP, talking about why we build our roads the way we do 

Roadworks 101 - building the right roads for New Zealand



Thank you again!

We’d like to take this opportunity to pass on our sincere thanks for your patience during the last 16 months of the project’s investigation, design, consenting, and this year, construction.

Combining what would usually be two years of roadbuilding work into a shorter time frame was always going to be a big ask.  Residents and business owners along the works corridor have been impacted more than most.

We value the patience, tolerance and understanding from local residents and communities.  The entire project team is grateful for the accommodations people have made while we’ve been working in your community.



More information


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.

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