Keeping road users safe with split site weigh station, SH1 near Rakaia


People who drive between Christchurch and Ashburton on SH1 will notice some activity near Rakaia from later this week, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Contractors are starting to construct a split site Commercial Vehicle Safety Centre (CVSC), previously called weigh stations, just north of the Rakaia River in mid-Canterbury.

The centre is being built with facilities on both sides of SH1 so truck drivers only need to turn left in and left out, says Waka Kotahi Director Regional Relationships James Caygill.

The northbound site is between Weavers Road and North Rakaia Road and the southbound site is on the opposite side of SH1 near North Rakaia Road.

A map showing the location of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Centres - along SH1, just north of the Rakaia River.

Location of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Centres, just north of the Rakaia River.

Work will involve the construction of the centre’s buildings and site access, along with in-road scales and electronic/Variable Message Board signage.

The southbound site works will start first, with the northbound site later in 2023.  It is anticipated that both sites will be complete and operational by the end of 2024, subject to consent, contractor availability and weather conditions.

James Caygill says the site chosen for the centre is a great location as it is on a busy transport route in a spot that is hard to avoid.

“The Rakaia site is one of a dozen being rolled out nationally. All of these sites are located on state highways where there are more than 1200 heavy motor vehicles per day,” he says. “Given we already have a weigh station north of Christchurch at Glasnevin near Waipara, this southern site is a great step forward.”

Commercial Vehicle Safety Centres are sites where enforcement officers can do checks on vehicles and their drivers including vehicle/load weight, brakes, road user charges, certificate of fitness, logbook, and alcohol and drug impairment. 

The programme involves using electronic scales and other scanning equipment which are built into the road. As a truck passes over the scales at normal speeds, software identifies if it is overloaded. Those truck drivers are directed into the safety centre.  Trucks within weight limits will mostly keep on travelling, uninterrupted.

Enforcing weight restrictions and other forms of non-compliance, safe driving practices and road-ready vehicles is an integral part of keeping all road users safe and protecting the road network from damage, says Mr Caygill.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • improve road safety by reducing the number of overweight vehicles travelling on our roads
  • increase heavy vehicle weight compliance without impacting upon productivity or imposing unnecessary cost on compliant vehicles
  • ensure that operators pay their fair share of road maintenance by targeting, and screening for, overweight vehicles.

“The Commercial Vehicle Safety Programme supports the Road to Zero strategy and our aim for a road system free of death and serious injury. It will help deliver a more level playing field for the heavy vehicle industry,” Mr Caygill says.

Other safety projects that Waka Kotahi is currently planning in this area include:

  • Safety improvements are being considered to make SH1 in Canterbury safer for road users.  These improvements will likely include median barriers, rural roundabouts and turnaround facilities. More information will be available about these projects during 2023.
  • Speed review: As part of the Waka Kotahi interim speed management plan, SH1 between Weavers Road and Rakaia is proposed to reduce from 100 km/h to 80 km/h and speed in Rakaia township is proposed to reduce from 70 km/h to 50 km/h.

More information on the Commercial Vehicle Safety Programme

More information on the speed management plan