Otago’s summer road trips beckon alongside the summer highway maintenance season


We can’t all get our kicks on Route 66 this summer, but we can enjoy an Otago road trip.

“It is the season for hopefully memorable road trips - going to the lake, the river and the beach,” says Jennifer McLean, Maintenance Contract Manager for Waka Kotahi in Coastal Otago. “While we are enjoying Otago’s highway network, please keep an eye open for our road crews who are ensuring your trip will be as smooth as possible and working in some extreme temperatures in remote spots.”

As well as relatively simple chip-seal repairs, which generally involve very short delays for highway users, there will be full reconstruction work in several places, which can delay travellers for up to 20 minutes.

Downer’s Highway Highlanders crews maintain, repair and rebuild the Coastal/eastern side of Otago including Dunedin on behalf of Waka Kotahi.  (See map below of their network).

Road reconstruction and resurfacing projects have already started around Otago for this summer season. As daylight hours increase with warmer temperatures and drier air, new seals stick effectively to the road surface, making summer the best time to complete major road repairs that will last the distance.

Images below: The Taieri River Bridge on SH1 south of Allanton/Momona at Otokia getting new steel safety barrier installed today. The work started in September and goes through to before Christmas/ 18 December, with the bridge reduced to a single lane throughout. The central barrier is temporary while the work is in progress:

The old wooden and the new steel bridge safety barrier on the Taieri River Bridge today:

We encourage everyone to check out our highway map before heading off on a road trip: “Prepared and pre-warned of short delays means you can build in extra time and arrive unstressed,” says Mrs McLean.

Smoothing out the Otago highway network

More than 170 single lane kilometres of state highways in the Coastal Otago area will be resurfaced and resealed with a smaller number of kms fully rebuilt, says Mrs McLean. 

The bulk of this work, around 130 single lane km, will be chip-sealed.

Reconstruction sites include:

  • SH1: Landon Creek, north of Oamaru to Pukeuri – aiming to finish before Christmas/end of November, 2023
  • SH1: Ronaldsay Street, Palmerston Hill – starting in the New Year, 2024
  • SH1: Main Road, Waikouaiti, north end near the primary school – in the New Year, 2024
  • SH87: Heeney Creek, near Rock and Pillar – starting late January, 2024.

Resurfacing sites – dates still to be confirmed

All of these sites will be worked on at night when traffic volumes are smaller and fewer road users will be held up.

These include:

  • SH88, Dunedin: Several sites between Forsyth Barr Stadium and Port Chalmers
  • SH1, Dunedin: Southern Motorway, southbound between Andersons Bay Road and Barnes Drive
  • SH1, Dunedin: Southern Motorway, northbound between the Green Island off-ramp and Dall Street pedestrian bridge
  • SH1 Oamaru: Korora Road intersection (Industrial Park)
  • SH1 Oamaru: Severn Street Hill
  • SH1 Milton: Union Street
  • SH1 Balclutha: Clyde Street, between Hospital Road and High Street.

Three key drainage sites/culvert replacements – in the New Year

  • SH87: Horse Hoof, between Outram and Lee Stream
  • SH1 south of Dunedin: Braeside, East Taieri
  • SH88 Dunedin: Moller Park, Ravensbourne, near Tekapo Street.