road from tokoroa to taupo

Project introduction

A number of projects are underway to make State Highway 1 between Piarere and Taupō safer and more efficient for everyone.

  • Estimated project cost

    $18 million for first stages
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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We’re improving your road

The 93km of SH1 between Piarere and Taupō has a poor safety record and there are various measures which can be rolled out to improve this – including flexible safety barriers, wide centre lines, better signage and road marking.

These upgrades mean the road is more forgiving if someone makes a mistake, with crashes less likely to result in death or serious injury.

Each crash has huge impacts on the people involved, their families, emergency services and the health sector. As well as saving lives and preventing crash trauma, safety upgrades would result in fewer crashes which would mean the highway is more efficient and can support productivity and economic growth in the region.

We prioritised two high-risk sections of SH1 at Ātiamuri to upgrade first:

  • Road widening and construction of flexible median safety barriers and roadside barriers north of Maroa Road to Tram Road (a 4.5km section) is largely complete.
  • Similar widening and barrier installation for a 6.9km long section nearby from the Waikato River bridge south to Thorpe Road is under way and expected to be completed later in 2024.

Further north, we are investigating making network improvements between Piarere and Tirau. Initial community engagement has been completed and information gained during that process is being fed into the detailed design process which continues.

Opportunities for other improvements on the rest of SH1 Piarere to Taupō will be investigated and constructed if and when funding becomes available.

  • How we’re improving it

    To improve this stretch of SH1 we are investigating:

    • widening the road shoulders to accommodate barriers and give drivers more room and space to pull over in an emergency
    • laying new line marking and putting in flexible ‘safe hit’ posts where needed
    • reconstructing and resealing the road
    • putting in flexible median safety barriers to prevent head-on collisions
    • installing roadside safety barriers where roadside hazards can’t be removed such as power poles, trees and deep ditches.

Design and construction

Where we propose roadside barriers, we generally widen the road and leave gaps at intersections and other locations where it is safe to do so. This provides places to pull over if there is a breakdown or emergency. The gaps in the median barriers (where needed) provide places to turn right where it makes the most sense – and where it is safe – to do so.

Within the sections planned for improvement between Piarere and Tirau, we are looking to provide right-turn opportunities at intersections with local roads. We know there are many different access needs for properties and are mindful to plan for residents, local businesses, trucking, and agricultural vehicle movements.

Other safety and infrastructure projects in the region

We are also working on a number of safety and infrastructure improvements for the region. Find out more:

SH1 Taupō projects

SH1/SH29 intersection

SH1 Cambridge to Piarere safety improvements