We adopted the Australian signage standards to provide consistency for tourists.
When you're travelling at 100km/h you can only read and absorb three to four lines in a sign – so we limit the information they show for practical reasons.
Destination signs work in geographical packages, generally pointing the way to the nearest main centre, such as from Auckland to Hamilton.
There are a number of factors to consider before you can put up a sign beside a state highway.
The NZ Transport Agency receives regular requests for flags to be flown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Generally the New Zealand flag is the only flag that will be flown from the bridge.
The government will determine whether any other flags may be flown from the bridge and on what occasions.
The term ‘state highway’ differentiates between local roads, built and maintained by local authorities, and the national state highway network. ‘State’, in the sense used here, is an older term meaning ‘government’.
State highways are those roads in New Zealand that form a nationally strategic purpose in moving people and goods nationwide. For example State Highway 1 runs the entire length of New Zealand. State highways are a Crown asset that we manage on behalf of central government.
Local roads are those roads that form a regionally strategic purpose in moving people and goods within regions. These roads are managed by local government.
The most important highways are numbered within the block 1–10:
State Highway 1 is the only highway that runs the full length of the country, from Cape Rēinga in the north to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
State highways 2–5 are the key North Island highways.
State highways 6–9 are the key South Island highways.
The remaining highways are numbered according to the locality:
State highways 11–19 are in Northland/Auckland.
State highways 20–29 are in Hamilton/Bay of Plenty.
State highways 30–39 are in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne.
State highways 40–49 are in Whanganui/Taranaki.
State highways 50–59 are in Wellington/Manawatū.
State highways 60–69 are in Marlborough/Nelson.
State highways 70–79 are in Canterbury/West Coast.
State highways 80–89 are in Otago.
State highways 90–99 are in Southland.
Not all of these numbers are allocated, although SH99 runs between SH6 north of Invercargill and Clifden, near Tūātapere.
You can only do work on a state highway with an approved traffic management plan.
Traffic management plans have to be prepared by qualified site management supervisors. Check the Yellow Pages under 'Traffic Management' for providers of this service.
If you have to do necessary work (such as tree trimming or installing services for adjacent properties), please contact your local NZ Transport Agency office for more information.
We do as much as we can to support community events on the state highway. However there are many considerations that need to be taken into account.
While the options are limited on high-traffic routes (less heavily used local roads are a better alternative), we're happy to work with organisers of events on low-traffic routes to keep traffic flowing and ensure the safety of participants, spectators and road users.
The first section of motorway ran for three miles (4.8kms) between Takapu Road and Johnsonville in Wellington. It opened in December 1950 as part of the main approach to Wellington city. For comparison, the first motorway in the United Kingdom opened in 1959.
Motorways are access-controlled, high-speed roads that normally have 'grade-separated intersections' – which means they have overbridges (or underpasses) so road users don't have to stop at traffic lights.
Expressways are also high-speed roads, but they may include well-spaced 'at-grade intersections' – which means they often have accesses and driveways on to them and sometimes traffic signals or roundabouts.
Almost without exception, our roads are surfaced using bitumen, not concrete. That's because bitumen:
While some of our high-traffic roads have a smooth asphaltic concrete ('bitumen hotmix') surface, most have a chipseal (sprayed bitumen film with a coating of stones on top).
Many other countries (including South Africa, Australia, Canada and the United States) have extensive networks of chipsealed roads in rural areas.
New Zealand's roads were mostly developed from original bullock tracks. However, our ancestors took the line of least resistance – going around swamps, hills and sometimes alongside rivers until they found good points to cross, because it was easier, even though it took a while.
Formed roads eventually began to appear for traffic going to and from ports, goldfields, farms and elsewhere. Today's highways carry heavy, sophisticated and expensive vehicles, but might well lie on the foundations of bullock tracks established 150 years ago.
This means many New Zealand roads are far from being straight lines – they reflect our topography and the changing patterns of economic and social development.
In choosing where to put roads today, we aim to strike a balance between what is best for the country's economy and environment, what will satisfy people's needs and improve their safety and what we can afford to build.
Yes. New roads are designed for vehicles travelling at the legal speed limit, except where the countryside makes this too expensive to achieve. In that case, the design incorporates features that make it clear to drivers that a lower speed is essential.
The yellow curve advisory speed signs on roads are designed to give drivers enough information to negotiate curves comfortably and safely in all weather conditions.
Most of the money comes from taxes and charges paid by road users.
The state highway network is one of New Zealand's most valuable assets, and is worth $52.2 billion (as at 30 June 2020).
The table shows information for the current year from the State Highway Plan.
|Activity class||Funding targeted for 2014/15
(including administration )
|Maintenance & operations||$341m (excluding emergency works)|
|Renewals||$158m (including preventative maintenance)|
|Improvements||$1,395m (including $145m of non-NLTF contributions to Tauranga Eastern Link, National War Memorial, Auckland Accelerated Programme and Gisborne-Napier passing opportunities)|
Yes. Trucks do cause more road wear than cars. The cost of this is fully paid for by the road user charges (RUC) that trucks are required to pay.
The best way is to keep to the speed limit displayed on the road. Loose chips will inevitably get thrown up at your windscreen if you travel at speed.
These signs are displayed when lime or cement has been used to strengthen the road. These substances will dry rock hard underneath your vehicle if you don't wash them off quickly.
State Highway 7 through Culverden in the South Island has a straight section 13.7km long. Some local roads on the Canterbury Plains have even longer straights.
State Highway 1 between Tūrangi and Waiōuru (the Desert Road) is the highest pass on the state highway network at about 1074 metres above sea level. The highest state highway is SH48 Bruce Road leading to the Whakapapa Village in the central North Island at approximately 1153 metres.
As a matter of interest, the highest sealed local road pass is the Crown Range Road in Central Otago between Queenstown and Wanaka at about 1076 metres.
The state highway numbering system in its current form was implemented in 1960. National state highways received priority funding and were signposted with red shield; while provincial state highways were signposted with blue shields. Following restructuring in the early 1990s, all state highways are now signposted with red shields.
State highway 1 runs the length of both islands of New Zealand (2,033 kilometres). The longest single island state highway is state highway 6 (1,162 kilometres), which runs between Blenheim near the top of the South Island, to Invercargill at the bottom of the South Island.
State highway 78, Port Loop Road, in Timaru is just 900 metres long. Opened in 1972, it connects state highway 1 with the Port of Timaru.
The Ministry of Transport is responsible for the flag-flying protocols on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Four flags other than the New Zealand flag are permitted to be flown on the western flag pole of the Auckland Harbour Bridge:
State Highway 1 in central Auckland is the busiest road in New Zealand, carrying more than 200,000 vehicles a day.
The state highway network has about 232 kilometres of motorway, with most in Auckland. Motorways carry 11% of New Zealand's traffic. Note that these figures may include parts of the network net yet formally gazetted as motorways.
The state highway network has almost 11,000 kilometres of road, with 5981.3km in the North Island and 4924.4km in the South Island. It provides a vital link to almost 83,000km of local roads – 17,298.3km urban and 65,600.7km rural. The length of road per person in New Zealand is one of the highest in the world.
|Road statistics||Local roads||State highways|
|Urban : Rural||20% : 80%||-|
|Responsibility||Local authorities||Transport Agency|
Around 70% of all freight in New Zealand goes by road, and over 80% of people go to work by car, truck or motorcycle – but public transport use has risen.