Project Introduction

Improved safety features include road widening, flexible median and roadside safety barriers. These changes will help to reduce the number of death and serious injury crashes along this route.

  • Estimated project cost

    $13 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


Project updates

We’re making your roads safer

We’ve made the state highway between the Wairākei roundabout on State Highway 1 and the State Highway 5 Napier/Taupō Road roundabout safer, to support the delivery of Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

Between 2010 and September 2017, three people were killed and six people were seriously injured on this 12km stretch of state highway This upgrade will mean the road is more forgiving and crashes are less likely to result in deaths and serious injuries.

How we've made it safer

To make this 12km stretch of SH1 safer we:

  • widened the road shoulders to give drivers more room and space to pull over in an emergency
  • put in flexible median safety barriers to prevent head-on collisions
  • installed roadside safety barriers where roadside hazards can’t be removed such as power poles, trees and deep ditches
  • laid new line marking and put in safe hit posts where needed
  • reconstructed and resealed the road
  • created safe areas to pull over for maintenance workers and emergency services.


Work to widen the road and install flexible median safety barriers and roadside barriers between Napier Road and Centennial Drive was completed in April 2022.

The next stage of safety improvement work on the section of state highway between Centennial Drive and Wairākei is currently expected to start in late 2024, subject to funding.


The upgrade of the East Taupō Arterial was announced in August 2017 and work on the Napier Road to Centennial Drive section began in March 2020.

During the final stages of the initial contract the local Waka Kotahi maintenance teams identified issues with the deteriorating condition of the road pavement and increasing maintenance issues. This resulted in the postponement of the safety project and increased cost due to the need to mitigate the pavement issues.

Project map

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About flexible road safety barriers

Flexible road safety barriers prevent head-on crashes and therefore make a big difference in reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured if someone makes a mistake.

Barriers keep vehicles on the road. When you hit a flexible barrier, the steel cables flex, slowing your vehicle and keeping it upright. They absorb the impact and help protect you and your passengers.

Flexible road safety barriers