Roadworks on the Central Plateau in January


At 1074m above sea level, the Central Plateau is the highest stretch of road on the state highway network.

As well as the answer to a potential trivia question, this special part of the network will also be the scene of a number of state highway road renewals this summer.

On the other side of the Tongariro National Park, State Highway 4 near the Makatote Rail Viaduct is being rebuilt over a period of 2 weeks starting on Thursday 11 January.

This will include a series of full daytime closures from 8am to 4.30pm (dates to be confirmed). Additionally, there will be intermittent stop/go between the hours of 7am and 6pm outside of full closure dates.

An update to this bulletin will be issued with dates once these are confirmed.

This work will be disruptive to road users, particularly tourists travelling to or from the many destinations within the region, acknowledges Andy Oakley, Waikato System Manager at NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi.

“Any road closure on the state highway network is disruptive, however we also need to complete renewals to ensure roads that are safe and accessible for those driving on them. The Central Plateau is a unique climate, and there is a very limited period within which we can undertake this type of work.

"The Makatote area in particular is very challenging, as the site is shaded. This means any moisture creates a damp site, which can take a long time to dry out. 

“We’re working with our contractor to construct the road as quickly as possible. This means the road will be closed on days where large machinery needs to be in place. Due to the narrow road width in this location road users are unable to fit alongside the working equipment.”

Mr Oakley’s advice to those visiting the areas’ attractions is to plan ahead, as the detour via SH47, SH46, SH1 and SH49 will add over an hour between National Park and Tohunga Junction.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed that we get good weather, however things may change at short notice. The NZTA Journey Planner will have the latest information for this site, and all other roadworks and road hazards that may affect your journey.

Journey Planner(external link)

“Finally, a reminder that our contractors are out there working to improve the condition of the state highway network. They’re working as hard as possible to complete a large programme of work. Please respect our roadworkers,” says Mr Oakley.

Due to the short working window in this area, two road rebuilds on SH1 Desert Road will be taking place throughout January and early February. Stop/go traffic management will be in place at these sites, with minor delays expected.

This work forms part of the summer renewals programme, which sees approximately 2500 lane kilometres being renewed between October 2023 and mid-2024.