SH23/SH39 intersection safety improvements

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Project introduction

The intersection of State Highway 23 and State Highway 39 in Whatawhata has been identified as high-risk. We’re looking at options to make it safer, to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on these roads.

  • Estimated project dates

    Jan 2022–Jun 2024
  • Estimated project cost

    $8 million
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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The intersection of State Highway 23 (SH23) and State Highway 39 (SH39) in Whatawhata has been identified as high-risk and can be made safer.

Infrastructure improvements will save lives and reduce the number of people seriously injured on this road.

This is a key intersection within Waikato’s state highway network, connecting SH23 and SH39. This route serves a high proportion of heavy vehicles and is particularly busy during holiday periods.

Between 2015 and 2022, the site saw 33 recorded crashes, 3 of which caused serious injury. The majority of crashes were caused by vehicles colliding while crossing/turning at this intersection.

In 2023, we completed a feasibility study investigating safety improvements for this intersection.

What we're doing

We have completed the detailed design phase of this project and put forward a request for construction funding in late 2023.

Funding for this project will be considered as part of the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS), and if prioritised, allocated via the next 2024-27 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) later this year, 2024.

We will provide an update to the community once we have further information about the next steps for this project.

How we engaged

In late 2022 we undertook community engagement.

To help us finalise our designs and fully understand the issues at this intersection, we asked locals and regular road users to give us their views on our proposed safety improvements.

What we did:

  • We held a drop-in session in Whatawhata which was promoted via local media, Facebook and direct letter.
  • Around 30 people attended and we had some very useful conversations. Twelve feedback forms were collected during this event.
  • People were also able to submit feedback via email, with 64 emails received. We contacted residents directly and talked to local businesses and organisations in the area, including Waikato District Council, Police and AA.

We are also in ongoing contact with Ngāti Māhanga as mana whenua, and community representatives, including the Whatawhata Community Association.

View our engagement summary to find out what we heard, along with our response to some of the common themes raised:

SH23/SH39 Whatawhata engagement summary – March 2023 [PDF, 1.8 MB]

Key features

Every day people make mistakes on the road and there are things we can do to make it safer.

We are considering:

  • construction of a single-lane roundabout – replacing the current T-intersection.
  • realigning SH39 – connecting both state highway roads to the proposed roundabout.
  • a raised crossing on SH39, on the northern approach.
  • raised median islands on the three other approaches to the roundabout (the southern and eastern will be accessible for pedestrians).
  • uncontrolled raised median-island pedestrian crossings on the northern, eastern and southern approaches to the roundabout.

The project will also include improved stormwater management, including a new stormwater pond and grass swales that will naturally filter stormwater runoff from the surrounding area before it reaches the Waipā River.

Project timeline

Key milestones Timing
Feasibility study Completed early 2022
Detailed design funding application and approval Completed mid 2022
Mana whenua, stake holder, landowner and community consultation on the proposed safety improvements October 2022 – late 2023
Detailed design completed. Apply for construction funding from National Land Transport Programme 2024–2027 Late 2023
Construction funding confirmed Mid - late 2024
Construction begins – if funding confirmed Late 2024 - 2025