Project introduction

Waka Kotahi is making the current stretch of State Highway 1 between Cambridge and Piarere safer and more efficient.

  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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About the project

SH1 between Cambridge to Piarere is part of one of the country’s most important transport corridors. The Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga corridor accounts for a significant proportion of all road freight in New Zealand.

A programme of improvements is underway to reduce the number of serious crashes along this section of state highway, including flexible median barriers and 6 turnaround bays. The project is being delivered in 3 stages as follows.

  • Stage 1 – Stage 1 was completed in December 2020, with 2.5km of flexible median safety barrier installed from south of Fergusson Gully Road.
  • Stage 2 – This includes the installation of 5.2km of flexible median barrier from an unnamed reserve to 1km north of Maungatautari Road towards Piarere. Most of this has been completed, with the remaining 2.5km of flexible median barrier from Keeley's Reserve through to just past Kentucky Road to be installed by mid 2024.
  • Stage 3 – This includes 7.9km of flexible median barrier from the end of the Waikato Expressway through to Fergusson Gully Road. This stage also includes constructing a number of turnaround bays at intersecting roads.
  • SH1/Karapiro Road – A roundabout is proposed at the intersection of SH1 and Karāpiro Road. The design has been completed and funding for its construction is being considered as part of the 2024-2027 National Land Transport Programme.

These upgrades mean the road will be more forgiving if someone makes a mistake, with crashes less likely to result in death or serious injury.

Each crash has huge impacts on the people involved, their families, emergency services and the health sector. As well as saving lives and preventing crash trauma, these upgrades will result in fewer crashes meaning the highway is more efficient and can support productivity and economic growth in the region.

The bigger picture

More than 20,000 vehicles travel this highway every day. Each crash has the potential to impact highway traffic flow for several hours. As well as save lives and prevent crash trauma, these upgrades will result in fewer crashes which will mean the highway is more efficient and can support productivity and economic growth in Waikato.

We’ve looked at the types and causes of crashes on SH1 and identified appropriate improvements. The road widening, turnarounds and median barriers, along with the roundabout at SH1/SH29 intersections and improved surfacing and lighting, will make this stretch of SH1 much safer, reducing the risk of head-on crashes.

Work in progress

Find the latest information on this work on SH1, including traffic management and detour details.

Work in progress page