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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 Whangārei.

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Project update – 6 October 2022

With the warmer, drier weather arriving, we will begin the permanent seal work on the northern end of the Loop Road roundabout to remediate the quality issue which was previously identified.

The bulk of the resurfacing work will begin on Monday 10 October and be completed by Wednesday 9 November, but, we still have a few more finishing touches to add which will be completed before the Christmas holiday period. This includes traffic island and guardrail installation.

On Sunday 9 October, vehicles heading southbound will be shifted onto the western side of SH1 north of the roundabout for approximately 10 days. Surfacing works will begin on the eastern side of SH1 on Monday 10 October.

From Tuesday 25 October, once the new seal on the eastern side of the road has settled in, all traffic will be shifted east while we carry out resealing work on the western side.

Our crews will be carrying out a range of activities including removing the current asphalt concrete followed by stabilising and compacting the ground before applying the new seal. After this is complete, you’ll likely see less work happening as the new seal cures and is tested for quality.

While there will be minimal impact to road users while we complete these finishing touches, please allow for a lower speed limit and minor lane shifts to accommodate a safe working area for crews and machinery.

Project context

Loop Road is the southern portion of an ‘inland freight route’, which crosses SH1 south of Whangārei. 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 Whangārei.

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.

Benefits

  • 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 Whangārei.
  • 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