COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information for all alert levels, Waka Kotahi services and more

SCAM ALERTS: Report a phishing scam or learn about the latest phishing emails

ONLINE SERVICES: We currently have an issue with receiving some payments and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

EASTER WEEKEND – PLAN AHEAD: Heading away for the long weekend? Check our holiday journeys tool(external link)

SCAM ALERTS: Refund email and Vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails

Project introduction

SH2/Wainui Road intersection to Ōpōtiki has been identified as a high-risk rural road. Safety improvements are underway to reduce the number of people being killed and seriously injured on this road.

  • Estimated project cost

    $26 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


Subscribe to updates

What does subscribing mean? Please read our Privacy statement



To reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on New Zealand roads, Waka Kotahi will deliver proven and effective safety interventions to make our roads safer for all users.

These safety improvements are being delivered as part of Road to Zero, to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on New Zealand's roads, and improve flood protection at the SH2/Wainui Road intersection.


The stretch of road on SH2 between Wainui Road and Ōpōtiki has been identified as a high-risk rural road which can be made safer. It is a main route for most traffic between Tauranga and Gisborne, and more locally, connects Whakatāne to Ōpōtiki.

Between 2015 – 2019 there were 31 death or serious injury (DSI) crashes on this stretch of road. Five fatalities were recorded last year alone (2019).  Most were caused by vehicles running off the road.

Roadside hazards like banks, ditches and drop-offs along the route mean if drivers run off the road they have a high likelihood of suffering a serious injury or death. 

Crashes, in particular fatal ones, contribute to road closures, as do flooding and slips as a result of natural events. Road closures negatively impact on the Ōpōtiki region, and the proposed solutions to these are being considered as part of the project scope.

Feedback – this is what you told us

When we spoke to the community in March 2017, we received feedback that helped us to develop the proposed safety improvements for this stretch of road.

The feedback showed there’s support for the improvements, especially at some risky intersections. It also showed us people are worried about how some improvements might affect the way they use the road and slow down traffic. All this information is important and has been used, along with our investigations, to further shape the improvements that will make this road safer. You can read some of the concerns raised below.

Section of road


State Highway 2

There have been too many crashes and there is not enough room on the road

Ōhiwa Beach Road / State Highway 2 / Waiotahe Valley Back Road Intersection

It is hard to see oncoming vehicles because of the curve in the road and the bridge. People are driving too fast and there are no safe areas to pass.

State Highway 2 / Wainui Road Intersection

We have had too many near misses at this intersection, it’s dangerous and people make silly decisions. We get cut off when the road floods after a big storm.

Wainui Road

The road is windy and narrow, and slow drivers are causing frustration.

What we’re doing now

Initial funding of $7.6 million has supported preliminary work to get underway and construction which has started on Section 1A between SH2 / Wainui Road Intersection and SH2 / Waiōtahe Valley Back Road Intersection..

Further funding is required to complete the remaining sections along the state highway,  which will be considered as part of the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) funding.

The safety improvements include shoulder widening, side barriers at high risk locations, edgeline and centreline rumble strips. It also includes intersection upgrades and a proposed roundabout for the SH2/Wainui Road (Matakerepu) intersection where the road will be raised to reduce flooding.

What's happening, and when

Early 2021 to late 2021

Some work will start on Section 1A which includes road widening along sections of the state highway between SH2 / Wainui Road Intersection and SH2 / Waiōtahe Valley Back Road Intersection.

Why is it taking so long?

It’s important we make improvements that are right for the road, that work for those who use and live along it. This is a complicated stretch of state highway and we need to get it right.