Project introduction

As part of a package of safety improvements for SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson, a new roundabout and shared user path are being constructed. This project will make this busy stretch of road safer for everyone who uses it.

  • Estimated project dates

    May 2023–Jul 2024
  • Estimated project cost

    $11.6 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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Project overview

The State Highway 1/3 corridor between Bulls to Sanson is a vital link to the central and lower North Island. Around 15,000 vehicles use it every day.

We’re making SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson safer for everyone who uses it. Between 2013 and 2022, there were 97 crashes on this 6.4km stretch of road, resulting in 13 people being seriously injured and 32 receiving minor injuries.

As part of our safety improvement project, a new permanent roundabout is being constructed at the Pukenui Road and SH1/3 intersection outside RNZAF Base Ohakea. Construction on the permanent roundabout is underway following the opening of the temporary road layout in September.

A shared user path for pedestrians and cyclists is also being built between Pukenui Road and the Bulls Bridge, making it safer for people to use other modes of transport.

As part of a different project, a new Commercial Vehicle Safety Centre (CVSC) is set to be built next to the new roundabout by Pukenui Road.

About the project

The new roundabout will be three-armed and double-laned. There will be two approach (turning) lanes from each direction, with two straight lanes in both directions of travel along the state highway. The turning lanes allow for people turning in and out of Pukenui Road to do so safely. Having straight lanes allows for a steady and continuous flow of traffic along SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson.

We’re building a roundabout in this area because it’s a safer form of intersection control compared to most other intersection types. Roundabouts reduce speeds and make it easier for you to choose the right time to enter flowing traffic.

A roundabout at this location will make the intersection safer, and will also reduce delays to vehicles coming out of Pukenui Road. This will become more important as traffic on this road increases with developments at Base Ohakea and the construction of the new CVSC (formerly Police weigh station). Construction on the CVSC will be underway later in 2023.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Programme

Ōhakea roundabout design

Permanent roundabout design.

Construction stages

In early September, we reached a project milestone with the opening of the new temporary road layout, and construction beginning on the permanent roundabout.

Two temporary roads have been built around the permanent roundabout site to ensure traffic can keep moving steadily while construction is underway. They also allow for crews to be safely separated from state highway traffic.

A temporary roundabout has also been installed on SH1/3 to allow traffic to safely turn from the state highway and into the temporary road that leads into Base Ohakea.

Construction of the roundabout and shared user path will be completed in five stages and is estimated to take about 15 months.

Stage 1 (May – August 2023)

During stage 1, site establishment works were completed and construction on the temporary road layout took place.

Stage 2 (late August – early September 2023)  

Traffic was rerouted onto the new temporary road layout in two stages.

Stage 3 (September 2023 – February 2024)

Earthworks and drainage is taking place, as well as the construction of the new permanent roundabout. Concrete, pavement, and surfacing works are taking place, and work is set to begin on the shared user path.

Stage 4 (February – May 2024)

There will be further drainage, pavement and surfacing works, and final works on the shared user path will be completed.

Stage 5 (April – mid 2024)

Further earthworks will be completed, including final pavement and surfacing works. The project is expected to wrap up by July.