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. We'll also build turnaround facilities.

  • 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 but many people are being killed or seriously injured in crashes while travelling it.

Between 2019 and 2023, there were 159 crashes on SH3 between Whanganui and Bulls, which resulted in 7 people dying and 19 being seriously injured.

We want to make this a safer stretch of road so that everyone living on and using this section of SH3, 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. We identified that adding sections of flexible median barrier to the route would be very effective at reducing deaths and serious injuries.

Three of the deaths and 10 of the serious injuries could have been prevented if flexible median barrier had been in place on the road.

From March 2024, we plan to install our first stretches of median barrier along the route, totalling 5-6km. These stretches of median barrier will mark the start of a wider programme of safety improvements, which will see median barrier and turnaround facilities installed along much of the highway between Whanganui and Bulls.

The exact lengths of these stretches of median barrier are to be confirmed but they will be installed in locations where the road is already wide enough to support the barrier. The proposed locations for the barrier are shown in the map below.

Once the locations for the barrier are confirmed, we will advise the community of when they will be installed and what traffic management will be in place.

These barriers will deliver immediate safety benefits while maintaining efficient travel between Whanganui and Bulls.

We are working on the plan for improvements along the rest of the route and will engage with residents and businesses along the route and the wider community as these plans develop.

More information about flexible median barriers

Road widening

From Monday 12 February, work to widen State Highway 3 in Rangitīkei between Turakina and Bulls will begin.

This work is needed to create room for flexible median barrier to be installed at a later date.

From 12 February until 1 March, SH3 between the intersections of Union Line and Williamsons Line will be reduced to one lane under Stop/Go traffic management from 7am-6pm Monday to Friday. A temporary speed limit of 30km/h will also be in place. Road users should allow for delays of up to five minutes.

Overnight and on weekends the road will be open to two lanes of traffic.

Widening work will take place along other sections of the road at a later date. It is expected that both lanes of the road will remain open during this work. We will provide an update prior to this work taking place.

We appreciate your understanding and patience while this important work is completed.