Project introduction

A programme of works between Saltwater Creek (north of the Ashley River) and Christchurch continues to improve the safety and resilience of the corridor as well as increasing transport choice for the area’s growing population.

SH1 North Canterbury Corridor

State Highway 1 (SH1) is the main road into Christchurch and is an important link for people driving to work, local businesses and freight. This road is becoming busier as more people make Waimakariri district their home.

The range of safety improvements being designed and constructed on SH1 in North Canterbury will help New Zealand achieve its Road to Zero target of 40% fewer deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2030.

Delivering safety improvements in speed and infrastructure is an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

People make mistakes, and by making safety improvements and reducing speed we can save lives and prevent serious injuries on our roads.

Road to Zero(external link)

Saltwater Creek to Cam River, including Woodend, road safety improvements

The 11.4km stretch of SH1 between Saltwater Creek and the Cam River is assessed as a high-risk section of highway, with high traffic volumes and speeds combining in some areas.

Five people were killed and 30 seriously injured in the 75 recorded crashes on this stretch of road between 2011 and 2020*.

Too many of these deaths and serious injuries were caused by head-on crashes. 

While we can’t remove every hazard, we can put in place effective measures that will make SH1 in North Canterbury safer for everyone who uses the road.

These include wide centrelines, flexible median safety barriers, and improvements at intersections such as traffic lights, roundabouts or left-in/left-out access to the highway.

Our planned safety improvements

* Data from the Crash Analysis System over the period 2011-2020.

Funding for cycling and walking projects in Waimakariri District

Waimakariri District Council is to receive $6 million from the Transport Choices package announced by the Minister of Transport, the Hon Michael Wood in early December 2022. The funding is to create cycle and shared paths for students to get to and from school, and safe cycleways between key centres like Pegasus, Woodend, and Kaiapoi.

The funding is indicative at this stage and Waka Kotahi will work with the Council to further scope these projects before moving to the design and build phases.

Read more about the Transport Choices programme

Read the media release from Associate Minister of Transport Kieran McAnulty (7 December 2022) about this funding and the road safety improvements proposed for SH1 Saltwater Creek to Cam River:

Government delivers safer roads for Waimakariri(external link)

Safer speeds

To ensure our transport system protects and helps us get to the places and people important to us, we’re delivering an Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan. Locations in North Canterbury include the Pegasus roundabout and Amberley south.

More information(external link)

Consultation closed on Monday 12 December 2022.

Our 'safety toolkit'

Check out our ‘safety toolkit’ for SH1

Overview of our other work in North Canterbury


  • New speed limits between Waikuku and Williams Street since December 2020 are helping people feel safer to walk, bike, or travel on the highway.
  • The signalised pedestrian crossing on SH1 near Woodend School is making it safer for school children and the local community to cross the highway.
  • New painted median at the northern and southern ends of Waikuku is providing extra separation for traffic and reminding people to slow down through the township, and around the Waikuku Beach Road intersection.
  • Median and side safety barriers along sections of the motorway between the Cam River and Tram Road are reducing the risk of head-on crashes and vehicles running off the road, and over-dimensional vehicles are now able to use the Ohoka Road offramp.


  • With the resealing on SH1 between the Cam River bridge and the SH71 (Lineside Rd) overbridge completed, our team will return in February to carry out some minor line marking, and at the end of March to apply high performance line markings and additional ‘rumble strips’.
  • We’re designing safety improvements on SH71 (Lineside Road) between Rangiora and SH1, with a focus on reducing crashes on the straights and at intersections and railway crossings. This work is ongoing and we will share these plans when they’re ready.

Looking ahead

  • We’re aiming to start construction on the Saltwater Creek to Cam River safety improvements during 2024, following completion of our design, consenting and property processes.
  • The Woodend Bypass route is designated in the Waimakariri District Council’s district plan, and the land is protected for a four-lane highway. The bypass, like other similar projects across the county, will continue to be assessed for priority and funding. Our work in North Canterbury won’t affect the timing or potential funding of the bypass but will help make the road safer for everyone in the meantime. 
  • We've received feedback from the community about making walking and cycling safer for people north of Woodend township. While the level of infrastructure required is not within the scope of this project, Waimakariri District Council is to receive $6 million from the Transport Choices package for cycling and walking projects. (See section above: Funding for cycling and walking projects in Waimakariri District)