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The NZ Transport Agency has made numerous safety improvements to reduce the number, and impact, of crashes as part of our commitment to save lives and prevent serious injuries.

SH1, Upper North Island

SH1, south of Whangārei, has a high crash rate and people using this road were exposed to many safety risks.


Oakleigh was identified as a high-risk road on this route, with a daily average of 16,000 vehicles, 12% being heavy vehicles, the road has a history of head-on collisions.

In June 2018, flexible safety posts were installed on the 10km stretch of highway between Springfield Road and Toetoe Road, along with a half-metre centreline with yellow no passing lines and raised reflectors.

8 people died and 23 suffered serious injuries in the five years prior to the installation, including 1 death and 8 serious injuries in 2018 before the posts were installed.

Since the safety improvements, there have been no deaths and 1 serious injury on this road (December 2018).


Photo of road barriers.

Brynderwyn Hills

The Brynderwyn Hills, south of Whangārei, is considered high-risk with 5 deaths and 4 seriously injured on this section of road between 2006-2010.

In 2010 the speed limit was lowered from 100km/h to 80km/h, reducing the number of crashes.

The first flexible road safety barriers were installed from August 2015, as part of the $18 million Brynderwyn Improvements Project.

By end-July 2018, the barriers were hit 37 times with enough force to require repairs to the wire rope and replacement of fence posts. Each time the barriers are damaged it indicates a serious crash has been avoided, and someone has either driven or walked away from the incident.

There was 1 serious injury crash in 2013 and 2 serious injury crashes since the barriers were installed.


Photo of road signs.

Hamilton, North Island

The Thomas/Gordonton Roads intersection in Hamilton has a history of serious crashes. It is one of Hamilton’s busiest intersections, used by approximately 16,000 vehicles per day. In April 2019, the Hamilton City Council introduced several safety measures at this intersection, including traffic lights and a 60km/h speed limit as well as berm work and new road markings.

One key safety feature is the raised safety platform which is being trialled for the first time in New Zealand at an intersection. Raised safety platforms are an elevated section of road like speed humps, but with a much gentler ramp to help reduce speeds. They have been used successfully overseas with a 40-50% reduction in crashes that caused injury.

The Transport Agency will be completing an assessment and evaluation of the platform’s effectiveness at this intersection, particularly how drivers react to it.

Photo of raised safety platform in use at the Hamilton intersection

Waikato, Central North Island

The 102km Waikato Expressway runs from the Bombay Hills to south of Cambridge. It provides for two lanes of traffic in each direction divided by a central barrier with local roads and interchanges generally serviced by bridges and underpasses.

The 9km section between Longswamp and Rangiriri on SH1 had a high crash rate.

During 2004 and 2005, a central wire median barrier was installed to separate traffic. Prior to the installation there were 10 deaths and 19 serious injuries (1993-2003). After installation, there was 1 death and 4 serious injuries (2006-2017).

Photo of Waikato Expressway.

SH1 Centennial Highway, Lower North Island

The SH1 Centennial Highway, north of Wellington, was a treacherous piece of road. From 1996-2000, 9 people died and 11 were seriously injured.

Between 2001–2004, the passing lanes were removed, and road markings, reflectors and signs increased. Despite this, 8 more people died and 4 were seriously injured.

From 2005 and 2009, a 35km flexible wire central median barrier was installed along two sections from north of Pukerua Bay to south of Fisherman’s Table in Paekakariki. The speed limit was also lowered to 80km/h.

Since the installation of the Centennial Highway barrier, there have been no deaths and only 2 serious injuries on this road.

The barrier has been hit about 127 times without a single death (December 2018).

Photo of Centennial Highway.

Kaikōura, South Island

SH1 was severely damaged in the 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes, resulting in the road being closed from November 2016 to December 2017.

Prior to the earthquake from 2012 to 2016, 2 people died and 29 were seriously injured on this road between Clarence and Oaro. 89% of these crashes were speed related and 78% of these crashes have been loss of control or head-on crashes on a bend.

In December 2017, the road was re-opened and an emergency speed limit of 80km/h put in place.

Since then, there have been no deaths and 2 serious injuries on this road (December 2018).

Photo of SH1 Kaikoura.


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