Project introduction

We’re looking at ways to make the Wairarapa safer through a range of interventions along the sections of State Highway 2 (SH2) in the region.

  • Project type

    Safety improvements, Speed review
  • Project status


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Road to Zero – safe system methodology

As part of the New Zealand’s Road to Zero road safety strategy for 2020–2030, the safe system methodology is being used to improve SH2 in the Wairarapa between Masterton and Featherston. Road to Zero sets a target to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, streets, cycleways and footpaths by 40 percent over the next 10 years. The safe system approach recognises that whilst mistakes are inevitable – deaths and serious injuries from crashes are not. The safe system approach seeks to create a safe and forgiving road system that makes the safety of people a priority.

Road to Zero
Safe system

Three separate but complementary projects are planned between Masterton and Featherston: a review of the speed limits, roundabouts and barriers at dangerous intersections, and twenty-one raised pedestrian crossings that will help pedestrians to safely cross a busy highway.

Making the road safer

The section of SH2 between Masterton and Featherston connects the Wairarapa to Wellington and the central and eastern North Island. It’s important for locals, economic development, and tourism. But the volume of traffic, some intersections, speed, and roadside hazards like poles or ditches make it a high-risk road.

Between January 2010 and December 2019 there were 488 crashes. Four people were killed and 28 people were seriously injured.

What we're doing

People will always make mistakes but there are changes we can make to the road so simple mistakes don't cost lives. We've investigated ways to make this stretch of road better.

Construction firm Higgins Contractors have been appointed to deliver this safety improvement project. The project includes three new roundabouts at high-risk intersections along the corridor:

  • SH2 and Ngaumutawa Road (improving safe access onto the heavy traffic bypass)
  • SH2 and Norfolk/Cornwall Roads
  • SH2 and Wiltons/East Taratahi Roads.

The project will also deliver central median wire-rope barriers, a safe turnaround area near the Clareville Saddlery/Hughes Line, and improved line marking and road surfacing along an 8.6km-long stretch of SH2.

We’re aiming to complete work on the roundabouts by mid-year 2023, with the remaining physical works to be completed Spring 2023. Final surfacing and line-marking will follow later in the year.