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Project introduction

This project will improve road and roadside safety on SH5 between Tarukenga and Ngongotahā and reduce congestion at the SH5/SH36 roundabout.

  • Estimated project cost

    $15 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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Making the road safer and upgrading the roundabout

The project received $14 million in funding from the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme and $1 million from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Safe Network Programme.

This investment will improve safety along the rural state highway and reduce congestion at the SH5/SH36 roundabout.

SH5, from Tarukenga (near Lake View Golf Course) to the SH5/SH36 Ngongotahā roundabout, has been identified as a rural road which can be made safer.

This road is an important tourism route, forming part of the Thermal Explorer Highway linking Rotorua with the Hawkes Bay, Lake Taupo, Ruapehu and Hamilton.

From 2015 – 2019, six people lost their lives or were seriously injured on this stretch of road. Most of these crashes were caused by vehicles running off the road or head-on collisions.

What we are doing

With the focus on making the highway safer and reducing congestion at the roundabout, the improvements include:

  • road widening and roadside and median safety barriers at high risk locations on SH5 to help reduce the risk of head-on collisions and prevent drivers from running off the road and hitting something much less forgiving – like a tree or power pole.
  • a wide centreline in areas for more space between lanes.
  • centreline and edgeline rumble strips to give fatigued or distracted drivers a wake-up call if they stray across the line.
  • signs and road markings to warn drivers of risks they need to prepare for further down the road such as intersections, stop signs or sharp curves.
  • shortening of the existing passing lane by approximately 700m to provide a safer merging for vehicles prior to the Tarukenga Road intersection.

The SH5/SH36 Ngongotahā roundabout upgrade includes:

  • an extra lane in all directions around the roundabout, as well as when approaching, entering and exiting the roundabout, to address morning and afternoon peak-time traffic flow and improve efficiency.
  • a slip lane for west bound (Hamilton) traffic.
  • updated road line markings, lighting, signage and wider sealed shoulders.

What's happening

August – Landowner information
Please note the landowner session scheduled for Thursday 13 August has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Any project or property related enquires please email

Now to September 2020
Inform the community and stakeholders about the work, what’s happening and when.

October to November 2020
Finalise the design, award the contract and start construction.

Late 2021
All going to plan, construction will be finished in late 2021.

Project map

View larger map [PDF, 222 KB]

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Plan your trip

Plan your trip with travel time information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures.

Journey Planner(external link)