Whangarei‘s four-lane highway set to continue south from Tarewa Road

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 9, 2020

As the last of six NZ Transport Agency projects to improve State Highway 1 through Whangarei nears completion, a new project to extend the four-lane highway further south is gathering pace. 

NZTA last week called for public feedback on a shortlist of two route options for upgrading SH1 between Whangarei and Port Marsden Highway with a preferred route to be confirmed by the end of the year.

The project will provide an upgraded 22km four-lane corridor that will improve transport connections between Auckland and Whangarei. It is part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme‘s $6.8 billion investment to save lives, get regions moving and boost productivity in key growth areas.

Meanwhile, the finishing touches are being applied to the SH1/Tarewa Road Intersection Improvements project which has replaced and widened the Otaika Bridge to four lanes to ease bottlenecks and congestion.

After disruption and delays from Covid-19 restrictions and July‘s extreme weather, which washed away landscaping and damaged some temporary structures, the project is expected to be completed in late-October.

The improvements will make the intersection safer for all road users whether they are moving about Whangarei or just passing through, says NZTA senior manager project delivery Andrew Thackwray.

New traffic lights make it safer for traffic turning right into Tarewa Road along with free left turns on to and off SH1. For people walking and cycling around Whangarei there are new signalised pedestrian crossings at SH1/Tarewa Road and a new shared path under the Otaika Bridge.

This also provides safer, much-needed connections between the city centre, Whangarei Hospital and NorthTec.

The striking mural that adorns the wall of the new shared path under the Otaika Bridge was designed and painted by local artist Benjamin Pittman with help from children from the Horahora Primary School.

“Benjamin Pittman will also be responsible for the distinct freehand designs that will be painted on the traffic islands which form part of the new intersection design. Situated just south of the I-site centre, it will make a striking new entrance for visitors to Whangarei to enjoy,” says Thackwray.

The impetus for the SH1 Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway project comes from the New Zealand Upgrade programme announced by the government in January. It commits $692 million for construction of the upgraded highway, with a separated walking and cycling path.

The two options for consultation are to upgrade the current state highway to four lanes (with some sections built on a new alignment to straighten out curves) or to upgrade the current state highway to four lanes with a section built on a new alignment to the west to avoid the coastal marine environment at Oakleigh.

NZTA is now seeking public feedback on both the urban section of the project between Tarewa Road and Toetoe Road and the two route options in the rural section between Toetoe Road and Port Marsden Highway.

NZTA is encouraging communities within the Whangarei district, regional road users and visitors to Northland to share their thoughts online by visiting www.nzta.govt.nz/w2pmh or via email atw2pmh@nzta.govt.nz. Feedback will be open until 23 October 2020.