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Project introduction

Improvements to the SH1 and Loop Road intersection to make it safer and easier to use. This is part of the important strategic link between Auckland and Whāngārei.

Project update – August 2021

Construction of the first stage of the SH1 Loop Road Safety Improvements project is now complete.

However, due to a wet winter, there is final road surfacing of the southbound lanes heading into the roundabout required later this year.

Until then, you may see a small crew working away from the road completing fencing, landscaping and other minor finishing works.

We hope work on the second stage, which will see the Loop Road roundabout increase to two lanes, will be ready to begin within the next construction season later this year or early next.

Creating a dual lane roundabout means an additional southbound lane is required on SH1 as well as a new bridge to accommodate the additional lane. The new bridge and lane will ensure southbound traffic exiting the roundabout have a safe distance to merge back into a single lane before Portland Road.

The new bridge will be constructed to the east of the existing bridge, which will be kept for northbound traffic only. The new bridge will be constructed to our current design standards which mean it will be approximately 1.8 metres higher than the existing bridge on SH1.

The higher bridge structure means right turns into, or out of, Oaks Road will not be possible. Northbound and southbound lanes will be separated by a centre wire-rope barrier. We have constructed a safe turning area on Portland Road for Oaks Road and SH1 residents to make right turns.


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Project context

Loop Road is the southern portion of an ‘inland freight route’, which crosses SH1 south of Whāngārei. The intersection with the state highway is a critical connection for the Northland forestry sector on the journey to and from Northport at Marsden Point, where logs are sent for export.

At this location, SH1 is carrying approximately 19,000 vehicles per day. A high percentage is heavy freight traffic (13%), collecting a significant portion of forestry traffic in Northland. With increasing traffic volumes in a high speed environment, there is a growing safety risk and operational delays for freight traffic at this location.

Safety improvements to the SH1/SH15 Loop Road intersection and the SH1/Portland Road intersection will ensure communities, visitors and freight travel safely across the state highway network south of Whāngarei.

Key features

A two lane roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of SH15 Loop Road (North) and SH1.

As part of constructing a two-lane roundabout, a second bridge will be built alongside the existing bridge to accommodate two lanes of southbound traffic. State highway traffic will merge back into a single southbound lane before the upgraded Portland Road intersection.

The new bridge will be built to current design standards which means it will be approximately 1.8 metres higher than the existing bridge on SH1. This also means the new southbound lanes will be higher (than the existing road) on the approaches to the bridge. The existing road will carry northbound vehicles only and, due to the height difference, a centre median barrier will be installed to stop vehicles from crossing the centreline.

The project will also provide an improved Portland Road intersection with road widening to support safe right turns and a left turn slip lane into Portland Road. A turnaround facility will be constructed on Portland Road to enable vehicles exiting Oaks Road to make a safe right turn movement at Portland Road.

The intersection of Otaika Valley Road (SH15) and Loop Road (South) will also be improved to assign intersection priority to SH15 users.

As part of the safety improvements, the intersection of Loop Road (South) and SH1 will be closed to vehicles.

A flexible wire barrier will be installed across the SH1/Loop Road (South) intersection with access provided for pedestrians and cyclists only.

The barrier design allows for removal in the event the intersection needs to be reopened as a state highway detour route under emergency traffic management.

The project includes improved stormwater management and a widened culvert south of Portland Road with new culvert and sediment retention ponds north of the roundabout.

The solution

Artist impressions for communications purposes only. Not drawn to scale.


  • The roundabout will significantly improve safety and freight efficiency on SH1, particularly for vehicles exiting Loop Road (North).
  • Improvements to Portland Road intersection will improve safety by providing greater sight visibility and improved separation from state highway traffic for turning movements in and out of Portland Road.
  • The closure of Loop Road (South) aims to improve safety on the state highway by removing conflicting turning movements with the SH1/Portland Road intersection.
  • The closure of Loop Road (South) also improves safety for the Otaika Valley School community by significantly reducing vehicle numbers, including heavy vehicles, past the school.
  • Safety improvements to the SH1/SH15 Loop Road intersection and the SH1/Portland Road intersection will ensure communities, visitors and freight travel safely across the state highway network south of Whāngarei.
  • Improved stormwater management and riparian planting will enhance the environment and prevent untreated stormwater entering the Otaika Stream.

Funding source

Implementation of this project is included in the National Land Transport Programme 2018–21