Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

SH2 Wairarapa highway improvements

8 June 2023


June 2023 update

Welcome to our June update on the SH2 Masterton to Carterton safety improvements project.



SH2 Masterton to Carterton safety improvements

We’d like to update you on progress as we close in on the last stages of construction, with a particular focus on the central median barriers and the new turnaround facility near Clareville. 

We appreciate this has been a disruptive project for locals and road users. The entire team appreciates the patience, understanding and goodwill shown by the community during the construction phase. We’re working as quickly as we can to get the last sections finished by mid-year.

The original plan was to complete this project over two construction seasons. One section (such as a roundabout) would be built at a time, meaning just that area would be under traffic management at any given time. However, this would mean a longer overall period with the highway under traffic management, leading to more long-term disruption for road users. The revised schedule compresses this work into a much shorter period – but this does mean activities along the whole corridor at once, rather than in one section at a time. The team has also been doing extensive work at night to reduce the impact on road users and make sure the project is completed as quickly as possible.

We’ve seen some great construction progress over the last couple of weeks. If the weather plays along, we expect to be finished with the main construction work by the end of August, which will see the road operating in its final form. 

The last remaining job is the final asphalt layers and road marking, which will take place in late November or early December, when the weather is better. That will be the last piece of work on the road and will take about three weeks.



Central median barriers

Our central median barrier installation is well underway. The section between the Norfolk Road and Wiltons Road roundabouts is now complete.

The section running south from the Wiltons roundabout to the turnaround facility at Clareville, is still under construction and should be completed by mid-June.

We’ll finish the barrier work with a short final section south of the turnaround, from Hughes Line to Chester Road.

We acknowledge this work has been unavoidably noisy at times - particularly when the sleeves which hold the posts are driven into the ground. We now predrill holes for the sleeves where the median barrier posts are driven, however, even this causes disruption. But once the sleeves are done, installation of the posts and wire is relatively quiet.

This work must be done at night because of ‘stop / go’ traffic management requirements. We apologise for any disruption while these vital safety features are installed. We’re working as quickly as we can to get the barriers finished as soon as possible.



The new turnaround

A big change to the road layout is the installation of the turnaround at Clareville, south of Wiltons Road.

This a great new feature which will help southbound drivers needing to make a change in direction northwards. The bay allows vehicles to turn without having to cross two lanes of traffic at once.

The turnaround will be ready for use once the wire median barrier from Wiltons Road to the turnaround facility at Clareville are complete. This is expected to be in the next week or so.
Some minor road widening, and sealing is required to completes in the southbound lane before the turnaround can be officially opened. 

Drivers can also make safer driving direction changes further north, at Wiltons Road and Norfolk Road roundabouts.

Can the turnaround cope with trucks and other large vehicles?

The turnaround bay was designed and built to accommodate large vehicles, including semi-trailer trucks.

As part of the turnaround area, a special turn bay has been built. This allows southbound vehicles to have a safe place to wait before making a turn across the highway. This reduces the risk of rear-end crashes from drivers in following vehicles who want to turn right.

When will I be able to use the new turnaround?

We still have a short section of pavement to build in the southbound lane opposite the turnaround, as well as asphalting in the turnaround, but once this is complete, the turnaround will be ready for drivers to use. We’re expecting this to be in mid to late-June.

Can you show me how a turnaround facility works?

We’ve created the video (linked here) to show you how these ‘jug handle’ turnarounds make it easier to change direction on a state highway. You can see how a driver only needs to check for traffic coming from one direction at a time.



Ngaumutawa roundabout

Over the last few weeks, you will have noticed improvements in the road surfaces and traffic flow at the Ngaumutawa roundabout.

The first structural layers of asphalt were laid down, and further layers will continue to be laid this month. Installation of the temporary roundabout has also improved safety and flow for southbound traffic turning from Ngaumutawa Road onto SH2.

The remainder of the footpaths around the intersection will be poured this month. Our teams continue to place streetlight bases, after which the posts themselves will be installed. The Wairarapa district is a certified International Dark Sky Reserve so the LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights we’re installing have lower levels of spill than previous lights. Installation of LED lights at all three roundabouts is expected to be completed by mid-June.



Other work

  • More base layers of asphalt will be laid at the Norfolk roundabout during June. Road widening is ongoing between the Norfolk and Wiltons roundabouts, and between the Wiltons roundabout and the turnaround facility.
  • Kerbing and traffic islands works are ongoing at all three roundabouts. The concrete centre islands at Ngaumutawa and Wiltons Roads will be poured this month, and the pre-cast centre island apron at the Norfolk roundabout will be placed.
  • Topsoiling work is ongoing at roundabouts in preparation for landscaping and planting, expected to start in July.
  • Temporary line marking will be done from mid to end July, whilst the final line marking will only be done at all three roundabouts in November-December upon completion of the final asphalt layers.


Work in Masterton: Chapel Street

Our colleagues in the Wellington Transport Alliance will soon be starting pavement remediation along SH2 in Masterton. 

Given its proximity to our project, we’ve included their latest update here:

The recently advertised two-weekend closure of State Highway 2 Chapel Street between Lincoln Road and Jackson Street is still on track to start this weekend, weather permitting.

It will involve reconstructing the road from the base upwards in the area from south of Lincoln Road to south of the Cole Street intersection. This continues the rehabilitation work of Chapel Street that began in January. 

We’re timing this work for two full weekends to minimise disruption and get as much done as quickly as possible. 

A full road closure over weekends allows us to get the job done more quickly, efficiently, and safely than stop/go works - particularly as the site needs to be closed both night and day.

One side of the road will be worked on each weekend. Rain may cause a postponement; in which case we’ll return the next fine weekend. 

A final layer of asphalt covering both sides of the road will be completed. A wider surfacing programme on Chapel Street will take place during spring. Until then, the road may appear unfinished to the eye but will still be providing a strong surface to drive on.

Weekend works schedule (weather permitting) 

• 9 June to 12 June: Friday 8pm to Monday 6am 

• 16 June to 19 June: Friday 8pm to Monday 6am 

Road closure details 

• Chapel Street (SH2) from Lincoln Street to Jackson Street will be closed to traffic throughout both weekends. 

• Access will remain open for the Z Service Station. 

• Access will not be available to the Masterton Mall parking building. 

• Footpaths on both sides of the road remain open.

For more information, you have these options:



Upcoming 1-night closure of Remutaka Hill for essential maintenance

Remutaka Hill will be closed for essential maintenance for one night, Sunday 11 June from 9pm to 4am the following morning.

These regular night closures significantly reduce the number of daytime disruptions for road users. Road crews can complete a large amount of work safely during these closures because multiple crews can work across the hill simultaneously without disrupting traffic.

Information for road users:

We cannot offer crossings over the Remutaka Hill during a maintenance closure unless a traveller has special circumstances and has booked for one of the four escorted crossing time slots available for light vehicles.

  • 10.30pm Hutt to Featherston
  • 11.30pm Featherston to Hutt
  • 12.30am Hutt to Featherston
  • 01.30am Featherston to Hutt

Numbers are strictly limited and should be booked in advance with customer@wta.nzta.govt.nz  by Friday 9 June.

Drivers turning up without a booking risk being turned away or waiting at the closure point until the road reopens.

The safety of our workers and the amount of work on the night determine how many can be in the convoy. 

Emergency Services will have access over the route while the work is being carried out. 

More information about the closures can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/remutaka - the schedule for the 2023/24 maintenance season will be advertised soon.

We understand these closures may inconvenience some road users and thank you for your patience and understanding as we carry out this essential work.

Follow the link below to keep up to date with the upcoming SH2 Upper Hutt to Featherston safety improvement project works.




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.