Project to complete SH1 improvements through Whāngārei is about to start


The last of six projects to improve State Highway 1 through Whāngārei will get under way in August.

The upgrade of the Tarewa Road intersection with SH1 is part of the Whāngārei Urban Improvements package to improve the state highway through Whāngārei by easing bottlenecks and improving traffic flow, safety and cycling connections.

Downer Group has been awarded the contract as part of the Northland Delivery Framework. This is a new procurement model which is focused on growing employment in Northland and improving productivity.

Contractors will be on site by the middle of the month to establish site and commence early works. Construction is due to start on the $17m upgrade in September. The work is expected to be completed in early 2020.

At the same time, the Whāngārei District Council will upgrade two intersections on nearby Porowini Avenue - at Tawera Road and Maunu Road. The works will start and finish during the period of the SH1/Tarewa road upgrade.

The NZ Transport Agency and the Whāngārei District Council will work closely together to minimise the impact on traffic flows, says Transport Agency Senior Manager Project Delivery Chris Hunt.

“The project has been planned to minimise disruption for all users. A joint approach has been developed with WDC and a more detailed management plan will be approved before work takes place.”

Whāngārei District Council Chairman of Infrastructure and Services, Greg Martin says the intersection upgrades will benefit the whole community.

“The projects will greatly improve the capacity of these intersections and will help ease congestion in this part of the city.”

The Tarewa Road/Porowini Avenue intersection upgrade, starting in August, will provide an additional lane on both the Lower Tarewa Road approach and the western approach on Porowini Ave.

A second project will start in December to upgrade the Maunu Road/Porowini Ave intersection. The existing Porowini Ave approach to this intersection is narrow and only allows one vehicle to exit on to Maunu Road at a time. The upgrade will include widening the bridge and the intersection to develop a separate left turn lane.

Mr Hunt says the SH1/Tarewa Road project creates a safer intersection for all users.

“It recognises that there is a strong demand for people coming into Whāngārei on Tarewa Road and creates enough capacity to allow this movement to happen safely.”

“Widening the Otaika bridge on SH1 also creates an underpass which provides a missing link in the Whāngārei cycle network – connecting the CBD with the Hospital and Northland Polytechnic.”

Mr Hunt says the first thing people will notice is the fencing in Tarewa Park to create space for a safe working area, a machinery storage area and a site office.

“The team is working with WDC to open up as much of the park as possible while keeping the community safe.”

Works on the SH1/Tarewa Street intersection include:

  • Creating two lanes for north and south bound traffic, including replacing the existing two-lane Otaika Bridge with a 4-lane bridge. The new bridge will be higher to accommodate modelled floodwater levels and create an underpass for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Traffic lights will make it safer to turn right into Tarewa Road, improve traffic flows and reduce queues during peak hours.
  • A shared path under the new bridge and signalised pedestrian crossings to improve safety for walking and cycling.