Safer railway crossings for Waikato and Bay of Plenty

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 10, 2019

Twelve railway level crossings across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are undergoing safety upgrades, as the NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail work together to make level crossings safer for road users and pedestrians.

NZTA‘s acting director of regional relationships Ross I‘Anson says the safety upgrades range from barrier arms, flashing lights and bells to road signs and markings, shoulder widening and improvements to crossing surfaces.

“On average five people die, five people are seriously injured, and there are 238 reported near-miss incidents at railway level crossings across New Zealand each year.

“Work has already been completed at four sites. Safety improvements at another four locations are underway in the coming months, with upgrades to all 12 locations expected to be completed by mid-2020,” I‘Anson says.

The upgrades include installation of half-arm barriers, road signs and markings, road shoulder widening and new street lighting at the SH2 Pongakawa School Road level crossing where two people were killed and another three injured earlier this year.

These improvements are part of the Safe Network Programme, delivering safety improvements on high-risk routes across New Zealand to make roads more forgiving of people‘s mistakes.

The programme focuses on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings.

David Gordon, KiwiRail chief operating officer – capital projects and asset development, says KiwiRail was pleased to be part of the upgrade programme.

“This investment through the Safe Network Programme is welcomed by KiwiRail, and the communities rail operates within. Close calls and collisions are highly distressing and impact the lives of everyone involved,” says Gordon.

A total of $26 million is being spent across New Zealand to make crossings safer, using lower cost improvements to prevent deaths and serious injuries, and targeting crossings on or near state highways.

“Safety of pedestrians, motorists and our contractors is our primary concern. Please slow down and pay attention to your surroundings,” says I‘Anson.

The works were not typically expected to result in significant delays to traffic but NZTA encourages motorists to plan ahead, allow more time for their journeys and to be patient when travelling through work sites.

The 12 Waikato and Bay of Plenty level crossings undergoing safety upgrades are:


  • SH29 Hinuera

  • SH1 Tregoweth Lane, Huntly

  • SH1 Huntly Bypass, Huntly

  • SH27 Waitoa

  • SH27 Pohlen Road

  • SH27 Waharoa Road

  • SH24 Broadway, Matamata

  • SH26 Piako

Bay of Plenty

  • SH2 Hewletts Road

  • SH2 Paengaroa

  • SH2 Ohinepanea Road, Pongakawa

  • SH2 Pongakawa School Road