A turning point in safety on State Highway 1


Work to make State Highway 1 near Cambridge safer for everyone is reaching a major milestone. The fifth turnaround bay in the SH1 Cambridge to Piarere safety improvements project, just north of Hickey Road, will begin construction on 4 March.

The Hickey Road intersection with SH1 has been the site of too many serious and fatal crashes, and the turnaround – along with the installation of median barriers – will be a big step towards preventing further deaths and serious injuries.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Regional Manager for Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton, says the safety improvements project is making great progress and is approaching the final stages.

“Getting the turnarounds built is a crucial part of the safety work, because they enable traffic to safely change direction,” she explains. “Hickey Road will be the fifth turnaround between Cambridge and Piarere, and once finished, we can install more flexible median and side safety barriers, which help prevent head-on and off-road crashes. We are also widening the road at the weigh station on SH1.”

J Swap Contractors will begin constructing the turnaround bay, north of Hickey Road, on Monday 4 March. The work is expected to be completed by early June 2024, subject to weather. They are also working on the current construction of turnarounds at Gorton and Tunakawa Roads and successfully completed the turnarounds at Keeley’s Reserve and Hydro Road.

Construction hours are 7am – 6pm Monday to Saturday, with no work on Sunday or public holidays, and temporary traffic management will be in place during construction. The impact on SH1 traffic is expected to be minor, although there will be speed restrictions in place, so some delay to journeys is anticipated.

Residents located within the work site, between the end of the Waikato Expressway and Hydro Road, will only be able to enter and exit their properties via left-in/left-out turning movements, as the SH1 southbound lane will be diverted into the centre median for duration of construction. The Hickey Road intersection will also be left-in/left-out during this time.

Planning work continues on a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Karāpiro Road and SH1.

Once the median barrier is installed, the left-in/left-out arrangement will remain, and Ms Wilton explains that people driving will need to make use of the turnaround bays to change direction.

“We appreciate this does mean a change to the way you use the road, and we acknowledge the changes will be inconvenient for some people. As well as saving lives and preventing crash trauma, the safety upgrades will result in fewer crashes which will mean the highway is more efficient. Each crash has the potential to impact highway traffic flow for up to several hours. We thank the community for their support and understanding so far and while we finish this work.”

For more on the project, visit our SH1 Cambridge and Piarere page.

SH1 Cambridge to Piarere safety improvements