Updated 21 November 2023
On this page:
Email the project team if you have any further questions: SH2HuttValley@nzta.govt.nz
Why are we looking at safety improvements on State Highway 2?
State Highway 2 is an important, busy road that carries large volumes of people and products every day, connecting Wellington and the Hutt Valley to Wairarapa and beyond.
In the last 10 years (2011-2020 – Crash Analysis System data), there have been 2313 crashes between Ngāuranga and Featherston along this corridor. These crashes killed 15 people and left 149 people seriously injured. In 2020 alone, there were four people killed, the highest number in the past 10 years.
We need to make changes so everyone can get around our region safely.
Where are we making improvements along State Highway 2?
The work is part of the wider SH2 Hutt Valley and Remutaka project, which aims to make this stretch of State Highway 2 safer for all road users.
Focus areas are:
What improvements are being made to each area?
There are several improvements that will be made to the road and intersections in the focus areas.
- On SH2 Remutaka, we’re installing additional side barriers at high-risk locations and additional motorcycle under-barriers, to improve safety for motorcyclists. The improvements include improved road signage and markings too. To further reduce the risk of head on crashes, wider centre lines will be installed.
- Safety improvements are already complete with the installation of 1.5 kilometres of new median barriers now in place between Whakatiki and Gibbons Streets, along State Highway 2, Upper Hutt. Further median barriers are being installed between the Whakatiki Street and Fergusson Drive intersections along with additional side barriers being built along the corridor.
- On SH2 Hutt Valley, we are focussed on redesigning and improving the safety of intersections to encourage drivers to reduce speeds on the approach to the intersection.
View more detailed information about the focus areas:
When is construction likely to take place?
The planned construction of these safety improvements has been split across phases.
View project timelines:
What impacts will construction have on the route and people travelling?
To help minimise disruption to people travelling, where possible, construction will be timed to coincide with planned maintenance work, (such as on the Remutaka Hill), or in non-peak times.
With construction happening at different phases across the route, please visit the project web page for regular updates.
How have we consulted?
We have shared information providing updates and sought feedback on safety improvements on this route during feasibility and design phases, from 2021 to today. Activities include a Feasibility workshop with key partners, public and impacted households social pinpoint and letter drop campaign and regular web page and newsletter updates. Engagement activities overview. (Link to main project page)
How do these improvements align to New Zealand’s road safety strategy?
Delivering safety infrastructure improvements like these, is an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.
Road to Zero is about improving all parts of the system – safer roads and roadsides, safer speed limits, safer vehicles, work-related road safety and safer drivers. Even the best drivers will make mistakes but making these types of changes will mean that when a mistake occurs, it is less likely to cost someone their life.
What assessment has been carried out?
We’ve carried out a safe system assessment of the planned works to close the Hebden Crescent/SH2 intersection and convert the Liverton Road/SH2 intersection to a left-in left-out intersection. This assessment takes into consideration the safety of alternative routes traffic could/will take once the changes are made.
This is in addition to the feasibility investigations completed in 2022.
What’s a safe system assessment?
A safe system assessment is a formal, technical assessment that assesses the safety risks associated with a road. It looks at how well road design and operation aligns with the safe system principles:
- we promote good choices but plan for mistakes.
- we design for human vulnerability.
- we strengthen all parts of the road transport system.
- we have a shared responsibility for achieving a Safe System.
The assessment can highlight which areas aren’t performing well and might need to be strengthened.
Why was an assessment done on these routes?
We carried out a safe system assessment on the SH2/Liverton Road intersection and the SH2/Hebden Crescent intersection, following concerns about the impact proposed changes would have on the safety of surrounding local roads.
How was each route/section assessed? How did you assign traffic volumes for each route?
For each section/route we assessed, we assumed that all diverted traffic would be using that route alone, so we could assess on worst case scenario.
Who carried out the assessment?
The assessment was carried out by Waka Kotahi safety project advisors, 160+ Consortium. 160+ is made up of engineering and design firms WSP, Aurecon and BBO.
Safe system auditors need to understand Safe System principles and meet the requirements of audit procedures relating to professional knowledge, skills, and experience (as a minimum, experience in safe system engineering or crash investigation, and knowledge of road design or traffic engineering principles).
What does the assessment measure?
The Safe System assessment evaluates a project’s alignment with Safe System principles and identifies ways to improve the alignment, with a focus on minimising fatal and serious injuries. It investigates the inherent risk of the infrastructure and includes consideration of road user exposure.
There are three main criteria that are assessed/measured as part of the assessment:
This is achieved through a scoring system which considers seven crash types and the exposure, likelihood and severity associated with each crash type.
Each combination is assigned a score out of four. The exposure, likelihood and severity scores for each crash type are multiplied to give a product out of 64. These are then added to determine the total safe system assessment score, with a maximum of 448. A score of zero or close to zero indicates a high level of alignment with the Safe System.
What were the findings of the safe system assessment?
Overall, the best safety outcome is to carry out the works.
The assessment found that the proposed changes (to make the SH2/Liverton Road intersection left-in left-out and close the SH2/Hebden Crescent intersection) and the associated rerouting of traffic will result in a safer outcome overall.
The safe system assessment shows that:
- overall, removing the right turn from the SH2/Liverton Road intersection will significantly reduce the safety risk
- while traffic will increase on local roads, the increase isn’t significant enough make a material difference to safety risk.
The following other findings are noted:
- the section of Hebden Crescent between its intersection with SH2 and the SH2/58 Haywards Interchange section could result in increased risk if the available traffic counts underrepresent current use, however, the increase in risk would be relatively low.
- the Gurney Road/Major Drive alternative route is the least safe of the three alternative routes but is unlikely to be an attractive route. Waka Kotahi will be working with Hutt City Council to install signage to discourage people, particularly drivers of large vehicles, from using this route, and direct vehicles to turn right out of Liverton Road to head north on SH2 to turn around at the SH2/SH58 Haywards Interchange. This is the safest of the three routes.
What consultation has been done?
Waka Kotahi carried out engagement during the feasibility stage of this project, which included seeking comment on issues with the existing intersections as part of the SH2 speed review, and direct engagement with national stakeholders and local government representatives.
Except for cases where consultation is a legal or regulatory requirement (as with speed limit changes), our approach is to consult where the community has an opportunity to influence the decision. In this case, while we acknowledge the impact of our decision on people who live and work in the area, we are prioritising the safety of all SH2 users. We have made the decision to close the right-hand turn access, consistent with our approach along the corridor over past years.
It's still important to us to engage with people and keep communities informed. We wrote to people in the area to let them know when our decision was announced, in advance of the change, which will take place in 2023. The timing is yet to be confirmed.
Waka Kotahi is focused on delivering the government’s target of a 40% decrease in deaths and a 40% decrease in serious injuries by 2030. To do this, we’re assessing the safety of all our State Highways and working in partnership with local government as they assess the local roads.
When considering the options for achieving these targets, we’re considering how to reduce the collective risk (the risk to all road users) on a corridor, while maintaining access for residents and other road users. An uncontrolled right turn intersection on a two-lane high-volume state highway with a 100km/h speed limit is high risk, and this has led to our decision to make the intersection safer.
We acknowledge that the changes we’re planning will create an increase in journey times and distances for people when leaving the area to travel south towards Lower Hutt and Wellington, however we didn’t formally consult on the proposal because we don’t believe there is a feasible alternative.
Is this going ahead?
Yes. Following feasibility investigations and this recent safe system assessment, we’re confident that the works we’re planning to carry out will help provide safer options for connecting local communities with State Highway 2.
We received feedback and questions in response to our letter and public announcement in late 2022, including a mix of opposition and support for the plans. While we won’t reconsider the decision to close the right-turn access, we are looking to make additional changes to mitigate some concerns raised.
We’re updating the designs to include a sealed area for safer turning at Liverton Road. We’ll also include way-finding signage to:
- reduce the risk of heavy vehicles continuing to travel to the southern end of Hebden Crescent
- discourage non-residents from using Gurney Road.
What impact will the changes have on residents and businesses regular routes?
Once the changes are made, vehicles travelling south from the Hebden/Liverton area will use one of three alternatives (map):
- turn left out of Liverton Road and travel north on SH2 before turning south (on SH2) at the SH2/58 Haywards interchange (preferred route)
- travel along Hebden Crescent to the SH2/58 Haywards interchange before travelling south on SH2
- travel along Gurney Road and Major Drive before joining SH2 at the Major Drive intersection (we’ll use signage to discourage using this route).
These alternative routes will add to journey times and cause some inconvenience for some residents and businesses. However, we must prioritise safety.
Have you considered other options?
Yes. A range of options were considered during feasibility investigations, but these improvements were deemed most appropriate, and others ruled out.
We’ve also been asked about building interchanges, overpasses, or an expressway. Except for Melling Interchange and Riverlink, these options are beyond the funding we have allocated for these improvements. Funding for these projects come from the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) fund, which is currently at a deficit of more than $600 million. Given the recent extreme weather events, this figure is likely to go up considerably. Even before this, project costs including construction and materials costs have grown higher than originally expected.
Waka Kotahi has already changed its investment targets to be in line with what we know we can afford to fund, and it is unlikely we’ll be able to fund any new activities for the remaining 17 months of the 2021-24 NLTP.
How long will construction take? How impacted will access be for residents?
The construction timeframe and schedule hasn’t been confirmed, but we’ll be working to minimise impacts.
Will residents and businesses get compensation?
Waka Kotahi doesn’t have funding to provide compensation when journeys change on state highways. Journeys can change for a variety of reasons, including when we make changes to improve the safety of our roads, by changing dangerous intersections or adding median barriers.
We acknowledge this requires more travel time and distance for people, and this is considered when making these decisions, but no payments can be made.
Will there be any changes to speed limits?
Not on SH2 at the Hebden/Liverton intersections.
Speed limit changes for some parts of SH2 in the Hutt Valley have been proposed as part of the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan (ISMP). A final decision on the proposals from the ISMP has not yet been made.
You can view these proposals and check for updates at nzta.govt.nz/ISMP(external link) and we’ll be keeping people informed through our project newsletter.