road from tokoroa to taupo

SH1 Piarere to Taupō – safe roads and roadsides

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Project introduction

We’re making State Highway 1 between Piarere and Taupō safer for everyone. This project is part of Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

  • Estimated project cost

    $18 million for first stages
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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We’re making your road safer

We’re making the 93km of State Highway 1 between Piarere and Taupō safer for everyone. This project is part of Road to Zero – NZ’s road safety strategy.

Road to Zero – NZ’s road safety strategy

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

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 completed but requires final sealing this summer.
  • Next up are safety improvements for a 6.9km long section nearby from the Waikato River bridge to Thorpe Road. 

Further north, we are prioritising making safety improvements between Piarere and Tirau. We under way with detailed and community engagement.

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

  • How we’re making it safer

    To make this stretch of SH1 safer we are:

    • 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
    • widening the road shoulders to accommodate the 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.

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