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Project introduction

The Mackenzie Basin pull-over areas project provides more safe stopping areas along state highways to help maximise the visitor potential of the Mackenzie Basin. It is supported by $5m funding from the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme.

  • Estimated project dates

    Jul 2020–Jun 2021
  • Estimated project cost

    $5 million
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status

    Construction, Design, Investigation

Project overview

This project is designed to accommodate increasing numbers of self-driving visitors to the area, by creating safe spaces to pull over and appreciate the Mackenzie Basin’s world-renowned expansive alpine and lake vistas.

The improvements will provide safer access points for visitor drivers and facilities for sharing the road with local drivers, freight and cyclists.

Waka Kotahi is working with iwi, Mackenzie District Council and Te Manahuna Ki Uta/Destination Mackenzie Group on prioritising key areas for improvements.


End of 2020 – detailed design complete
Early 2021 – commence construction
June 2021 – project complete

Improvements overview

Around 10 locations along State Highways 8, 79 and 80 will benefit from safety and access improvements. These include increasing capacity at existing rest areas, new rest areas at scenic locations, upgrading existing rest areas, better signage, directional arrows, safety information for tourists – such as 'Traffic behind you? Let it pass' signs – intersection improvements, road widening and passing opportunities.

Proposed locations overview

Lake Pukaki area

A right turn bay will be installed on SH8 at the entrance to the salmon farm on Twizel-Omarama Road, improvements made at the SH8 entrance to Lake Ruataniwha and Haymans Road carpark off SH8 will be extended.

Lake Tekapo area

A right turn bay will be installed on SH8 at Godley Peaks Road and improvements made at the intersection of SH8 and Braemar Road.

Mt Burgess and Burkes Pass areas

On SH8, the road will be widened to provide for pull-off areas which allow vehicles to pull over and let traffic pass.

Mt Michael

A right turn bay will be installed along with a minor curve realignment of the road to provide for safer viewing away from SH79.

SH80 SH8 rest stops and viewing areas

A number of potential improvements are being investigated which will be prioritised according to budget and priority.

Locations map

Project type overview and costs

Type Location Estimate
Pull-over area and rest area improvements​ Multiple sites along SH8, 79, 80 $1m
Intersection and access improvements Six sites on SH8 $2.5m
Shoulder widening Two sites on SH8 $0.3m
Signage improvements Multiple sites along SH8, 79, 80 $0.2m
Pre-implementation (design, land purchase, service works etc.) All  $1m


The regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme is an $88m package of projects to address key challenges our regional state highway networks face including safety risks, resilience and congestion problems, accessibility and travel time reliability. The projects will also support regional economic development.