SH1 Karāpiro safety improvements hitting high gear


NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) says work on a programme of safety improvements on SH1, Karāpiro continues to be a priority this year, with contractors on site at various locations this month.

The highly anticipated roundabout at the intersection of SH1 and SH29 in Piarere moves into construction this week.

After a competitive tender process, Downer NZ was awarded the contract and began minor works in December 2023, following a blessing of the site with local mana whenua – Ngaati Koroki Kahukura, Ngaati Hauaa Iwi Trust and Raukawa.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery for Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Jo Wilton, says it’s exciting to see this important work begin.

“The community and road users have been calling for safety improvements at this intersection, and it’s great to be getting work underway to deliver this."

Meanwhile work continues on a section of SH1 between Keeley’s Reserve and Moana Roa Road this week, in preparation of median barrier being installed.

The main construction work involves 1.5km of shoulder widening, temporary barrier installation, earthworks and pavement construction, followed by surfacing, lighting and permanent barrier installation.

During the majority of construction, the slow lane of the southbound passing lane between Keeley’s Reserve and Moana Roa Road will be closed and the work site will be under a temporary speed limit of 50km/h. Access in and out of Kentucky Road will remain open.

Construction is expected to be finished late June 2024.

Further north, NZTA contractors are preparing to start the construction of turnaround bays at Tunakawa Road and Gorton Road later this month. Work will begin at Gorton Road on Monday 22 January 2024, followed by Tunakawa Road approximately five weeks later.

While construction crews are onsite, there will be no right turn onto Gorton Road (Monday to Friday, 24/7). This means that southbound traffic wanting to access Gorton Road will need to travel to the new turnaround bay at Keeley’s Reserve to change direction. This will add around 4-6 minutes to your journey. The right turn in will reopen during the weekends and on public holidays.

The left turn onto Gorton Road and left and right turn onto SH1 will remain for the duration of construction, with a stop sign rule applied.

There will be periods of stop/go nightworks and one full night closure (12.30am – 6am) of the Gorton Road intersection, otherwise access will remain for residents/road users. More information on the closure will be provided closer to the time.

The impact on SH1 traffic is expected to be minor although there will be speed restrictions in place so some delay to journeys is anticipated. The speed will be reduced to 30km/h through the intersection, as well as 400m northbound on SH1 and 700m southbound on SH1, while construction crews are onsite (7am - 6pm, Monday to Friday).

These turnaround bays are expected to be in place by mid-April, after which installation of the flexible median barrier from Tunakawa Road to Fergusson Gully Road can begin.

The turnarounds and median safety barriers will make this stretch of SH1 much safer, reducing the risk of head-on crashes.

Ms Wilton says that with so much activity along this stretch of SH1, people should factor in more travel time, however delays are expected to be minimal.

“We have coordinated these works as best as possible but appreciate there will be disruption and ask for your patience as you allow more time for your journeys. The end result will be a significantly safer highway for all.”

Motorists can use the Journey Planner for real-time updates of network conditions, including traffic delays.

Journey Planner(external link)

For more information on the safety improvements on SH1 between Cambridge and Piarere, or to sign up to receive updates, please visit the C2P project page:

SH1 Cambridge to Piarere