Night-time detours for SH1 travellers in the Waikato


Ongoing work on the Ngāruawāhia section of the Waikato Expressway will see night-time southbound traffic detoured for about five weeks.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises its contractors require a block of closures – Sunday to Thursday each week, running from 19 November to 21 December, 7pm-5am.

This work was originally scheduled to run from 12 November to 14 December, but has been delayed due to resourcing issues.

The usual detour using the old highway has been changed as there are disruptive works in Ngāruawāhia township. So all SH1 southbound vehicles will be rerouted along SH1B-Gordonton Road.

Light traffic can turn off into Lake Road to rejoin SH1 at the Northern Interchange. However heavy vehicles (50 tonnes and over) must use SH1B, including the local road detour around Telephone Road, and connect to SH1 again at Cambridge or via SH26 into Hamilton.

The detours will be signposted. The Lake Road detour will add about 10 minutes to travel times, while the freight detour will add up to 15 minutes.

The Ngāruawāhia section is being brought up to the same 110km/h standard as neighbouring sections of expressway and there is a big push to progress this over the upcoming construction season.

An agreed solution and programme, along with more resources from the contractor, are expected to see work accelerated this summer.

There will be only a brief break in work over the Christmas-New Year period, and the traffic management and temporary safety barriers will stay in place over the summer holidays.

On-going work includes:

  • Reshaping and hardening the median area – to limit moisture entering the pavement and prevent further failures
  • Drainage improvements
  • Resurfacing, depending on the existing pavement condition

A final, continuous asphalt surface will complete the repair works, replacing the temporary chipseal and asphalt surfaces which have been in place during earlier temporary repairs and while moisture monitoring was conducted.

The safety improvements needed to get to 110km/h standard include making side barriers continuous, upgrading some barriers, additional maintenance and turnaround bays for emergency services, shoulder widening and relocating some lighting.

The Ngāruawāhia section opened in late 2013. It was built by Fletcher Construction under a design and construct contract. The current works are led by Fletcher Construction with the repair portion completed under a cost-sharing arrangement with Waka Kotahi.

The works are expected to finish in mid-2025 although Waka Kotahi and its contractors are continuing to look at programming and resources to have the work finish earlier.