Safety improvements to kick off with new roundabout at SH3 Ōhakea


A contract has been awarded and pre-construction planning has begun for a new roundabout at the turn-off to RNZAF Base Ohakea between Sanson and Bulls, aimed at preventing deaths and serious injuries on the road.

Work is expected to begin early next month on the roundabout at the intersection of SH3 and Pukenui Road. As part of the project, a shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists will also be built between Ōhakea and Bulls.

The new roundabout and shared use path are being delivered as part of a package of safety improvements for SH1 and SH3 between Bulls and Sanson.

SH1/SH3 Bulls to Sanson

Between 2011 and 2020, there were 83 crashes on this 6.4 km stretch of road, resulting in 14 people being seriously injured and 23 receiving minor injuries.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery Rob Partridge says the safety improvements project aims to future proof the road, reduce crashes and prevent deaths and serious injuries.

“Currently, an average of 15,000 vehicles drive this stretch of road every day and it’s a vital link to the central and lower North Island. The new roundabout and the shared use path between Ōhakea and Bulls, together with the relocation of the nearby commercial vehicle weigh station, will make this busy stretch of road safer for everyone who uses it. By reducing speeds through the intersection the new roundabout will reduce crashes while at the same time reducing delays for traffic coming out of Pukenui Road.

“The feedback Waka Kotahi received during public engagement for the project showed there is support for the roundabout, especially given future developments at Ōhakea and expected increase in traffic in the area in coming years. It’s important to Waka Kotahi to ensure local communities and those who use the road regularly have had their chance to have a say. We have heard you, we have listened and this project is incredibly important to the safety and resilience of the area,” says Mr Partridge.

The new roundabout is a joint project with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and Base Ohakea. Commander Group Captain Rob Shearer says NZDF has worked with Waka Kotahi for a number of years to find a solution to help reduce the number of crashes at the intersection.

“The safety of all people who use the intersection at the State Highway and Ōhakea is important to us, and we look forward to seeing these changes occur,” says Group Captain Shearer.

Mr Partridge says after a robust tendering process the contract for the roundabout construction has been awarded to Fulton Hogan, with work expected to begin in the second week of May.

Fulton Hogan’s Chief Operating Officer of Infrastructure Services, Simon Dyne says the company is pleased to work alongside both Waka Kotahi and NZDF to deliver this importance piece of infrastructure.

“Connecting and caring for communities is at the heart of what we do, and this roading connection not only future-proofs the network ahead of anticipated growth and development but more importantly will improve safety for road users.”

See the design of the roundabout and more information about the project on our project webpage.

SH1/SH3 Bulls to Sanson

The roundabout layout

The roundabout will be three-armed and double laned. There will be two approach lanes from each direction, with two straight lanes in both directions of travel along SH3.