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Project introduction

Between 2009 and 2018, 25 people died and 66 seriously injured on this stretch of SH2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa. Most crashes were caused by running off the road, head-on collisions and intersection crashes. The improvements being made are proven to save lives and reduce risk of crashes.

  • Estimated project cost

    $164 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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Tirohanga whānui kaupapa – project overview

We're making State Highway 2 (SH2) between Waihī and Ōmokoroa safer for everyone who uses this road. Work to improve this 40km corridor, including road and shoulder widening, installing a wide centreline, flexible road safety barriers in high-risk areas, and intersection improvements, has been underway since 2019. The safety of the road will be boosted further with the installation of flexible median barriers and additional intersection upgrades to provide safe turnaround points between Tetley Road and Esdaile Road.

The design solutions and improvements included in this project are about keeping people safe, the work we are doing is proven to save lives and reduce the risk of crashes.

This project is being delivered as part of Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, which aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on New Zealand's roads by 40 percent by 2050. Road to Zero sets us on a path to achieve Vision Zero, a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.

If we are to achieve Vision Zero, we need to create a safe transport system; one that recognises humans make mistakes and is designed so that these mistakes do not need to cost us our lives. No one expects to crash, but people make mistakes – including those of us who are usually careful and responsible drivers. We need to build a safe road system that is designed for people. This means doing our best to reduce crashes, but acknowledging that crashes will continue to happen.

We will not apologise for putting the safety of people first.

What we are doing 

To make this stretch of road safer we are:

  • widening the road
  • putting in a wide centreline to help separate oncoming traffic
  • widening the road shoulders to give drivers more room
  • putting in roadside safety barriers where there are hazards such as power poles, trees and deep ditches
  • making intersections safer
  • installing flexible median barrier and turnaround areas.

These improvements will save lives and will raise the safety rating of the state highway.


We’ve split the project into 10 sections to help limit the number of roadworks that people encounter along the highway. Each section will take between 12–18 months to complete, and this phase of the project is expected to be finished in 2024. The flexible median barrier and roundabout construction began 2022 and will continue to 2025.

Flexible median barrier and intersection upgrades (roundabouts)

When this project began, statistics showed 40% of crashes resulting in death or serious injury were head-on collisions, on this stretch of road. 

The installation of median barriers is an effective infrastructure treatment and, combined with the improvements works already undertaken, can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on this corridor by 75%. In 2022, funding was made available for this part of the project.

We know flexible median barriers work. When you hit a flexible barrier, the cables flex, slowing your vehicle and keeping it upright. They’re designed to absorb the impact, protecting you and others in the vehicle, ensuring your vehicle isn’t deflected into another traffic lane. 

To achieve the greatest safety benefit for the flexible median barrier, we need to have as few gaps as possible. This means people accessing the highway from a private access or side road may only be able to turn left, unless a safe turnaround area has been provided.

Roundabouts are proven to be the safest form of intersection control and will provide six safe turnaround areas on this stretch of SH2. 

Spacing between the roundabouts, is planned for every three to five kilometres, and will make turning right much safer for those who live along SH2. Roundabouts can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured by typically at least 60%, because they significantly reduce the chance of head-on and side impact crashes and vehicle speeds are lower.

While these changes will require some patience and understanding, it makes the road safer for everyone.

Project timeline


SH2 Waihī to Tauranga programme business case


Design and public consultation on safety improvements

Consents lodged


Construction begins on safety improvements – the 40km stretch of SH2 is split into 10 sections


One of 10 sections completed - Heath Road to Trig Road


Four of 10 sections completed - Trig Road to Mathers Road, Mathers Road to Athenree Gorge, and Wharawhara Road to Sharp Road


Six of 10 sections completed - Kauri Point Road to Lindemann Road, and Wainui South Road to Esdaile Road

Further consultation on flexible median barrier and intersection upgrades takes place


Funding confirmed for the installation of flexible median barrier and six intersection upgrades to provide safe turnaround points, under the Road to Zero programme.

Seven of 10 sections completed – Sharp Road to Sargent Drive

Athenree Road to Tanners Point Road under construction

Roundabout at Rea Road and Tetley Road completed

Roundabout at Morton Road under construction


Tanners Point Road to Kauri Point Road, and Esdaile Road to Ōmokoroa Road due to begin construction

Roundabouts at Sharp Road, Lockington Road and Matahui Road to begin construction (subject to change)


10 sections of safety improvements due to complete


Flexible median barrier and intersection upgrades due to complete (currently being programmed)