highway road showing vehicles on the road
highway road showing vehicles on the road

Project Introduction

There’s been a high number of crashes on State Highway 3 (SH3) between Whanganui and Bulls so we’re planning to install sections of median barrier to help prevent people being killed and seriously injured.

  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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What we're doing

State Highway 3 (SH3) between Whanganui and Bulls is a key route for locals, tourists, and freight. We’re planning improvements to this route to help make sure people can get where they are going safely.

In 2022, we undertook a study to understand which types of safety improvements would work best for this road. The study identified that installing flexible median barrier, alongside roundabouts and turnaround facilities would greatly improve safety.

In February 2024, we announced plans to install 5-6km of flexible median barrier on the route by the middle of the year as a first step towards making the route safer.

Since then, we have spoken with residents and the wider community and used their feedback to help us confirm the appropriate locations and lengths for these initial stretches of flexible median barrier.

We have now confirmed the locations for 7 stretches of flexible median barrier totalling approximately 5.8km in length. These barriers will be installed at the following locations:

  • Duddings Lake to Union Line (1.2km)
  • Union Line to Williamsons Line (0.8km)
  • Pukepapa Road to Brightwell Road (0.6km)
  • Brightwell Road to Tennants Road (0.3km)
  • Number 7 Line to Pukepapa Road (0.6km)
  • Makirikiri Road to Duddings Lake (approximately 1.5km)
  • South of Dalvey Road (0.7 km)

The stretches from Duddings Lake to Union Line and Pukepapa Road to Brightwell Road will each have a gap in the middle for property access.

In May, our contractor began installing flexible median barrier on SH3, starting with the stretch between Duddings Lake and Union Line and then moving down to Williamsons Line. Our contractor is installing flexible median barrier one stretch at a time. From June 10, our contractor plans to install barriers between Makirikiri Road and Duddings Lake, and between Number 7 Line and Pukepapa Road. This work is expected to be complete by the end of June.

Work is taking place Monday to Friday between the hours of 6am and 6pm.

Where our contractor is working, a temporary speed limit of 30km/h is in place. For most of the work, both lanes of the road will remain open. However, for some of the work stop/go traffic management may be required for the safety or crews and motorists. Delays of 5 minutes or less are expected.

We are also looking to install a short section of roadside safety barrier (guardrail) before the SH3/ Pukepapa Road intersection (southbound lane). There is a large drop-off on the side of the state highway and a barrier in this location offers increased protection for road users. Investigations for further roadside barrier sites on SH3 are underway.

The remaining proposed improvements for this route – including roundabouts, turnaround facilities, right hand turn bays, side barrier, and further median barrier – are subject to funding approval through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) 2024-27. All activities within the NTLP 2024-27 will be prioritised in alignment with the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2024.

2024–27 NLTP development