Manawatū – Whanganui


$1.4 billion is forecast to be invested in the Manawatū-Whanganui region during the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) to strengthen the region’s position as an important freight hub connecting the central North Island and support the local economy, regional development and urban growth. 

Manawatū – Whanganui NLTP 2023 update

Graphic showing 1.3 billion forecast investment

Latest news

Whangaehu River Bridge scaffolding

Bridge strengthening works underway at Whangaehu

Important bridge strengthening and painting works are underway at Whangaehu River Bridge on State Highway 3, south of Whanganui.

All of the work is taking place underneath the bridge and while it won’t be visible to motorists passing by, NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi is reminding people to drive carefully and adhere to the temporary traffic management, speeds and signage in place.

It is safe to access the bridge, these works are about extending its longevity.

Painting and strengthening planned for Whangaehu River Bridge


Bridge strengthening works underway at Whangaehu

New safety improvements on state highways in Manawatū and Whanganui

A range of safety improvements have been carried out on State Highways 1, 2 and 3 in Manawatū-Whanganui over the past few months.

Between October 2023 and March 2024, our crews were out on our state highways installing signage, high-performance and rumble strip line marking, and sections of roadside safety barrier.

Our contractor Downer installed more than 223 kilometres of line marking as part of this project, and of this, 125km was high-performance line marking. This type of road marking (with a dotted texture) is reflective and is easier for drivers to see in the dark and when it’s raining.

These small improvements will make a big difference to road users by improving safety and ensuring journeys are efficient across the region.

These safety improvements included:

  • 223km of marking installed (of this, 125km was high-performance line marking and 98km of ATP/ rumble strip)
  • 610m of roadside safety barrier installed
  • 240m shoulder widening constructed
  • 23 new signs installed


SH1 Levin to Foxton safety improvements

SH1 Levin to Foxton safety improvements

We've started safety improvement work on State Highway 1 between Levin and Foxton which includes new turning facilities, road safety barriers, and a new roundabout.

The infrastructure improvements are being constructed in stages, with improvements between Foxton and the Manawatū River Bridge to be completed first by mid-2024.

Construction on all the improvements are expected to be completed by mid-2027. This timeline is dependent on a variety of factors, including land acquisition, consents, weather, and ground conditions.

SH1 Levin to Foxton safety improvements project page


Te Apiti – Manawatū

Te Apiti – Manawatū

Users of Te Apiti – Manawatū Gorge walking track will notice the location of the temporary carpark on the Ashhurst side of the gorge changing soon.

The switch in carpark locations happened 1 April 24.  The new temporary carpark will be located on the other side of the road to the current carpark. 

The change in carparking is needed as the construction requirements shift for Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway.


Small, but important safety changes made at busy Manawatū intersection

New flexible side barrier, non-slip coating, upgraded streetlights and new signage are on the way for the State Highway 3/Stewart Road intersection.

Stewart Road is an important connection for people travelling between Sanson and Feilding, with more than 2,400 vehicles travelling through every day.

Another 20,000 vehicles travel past the intersection every day.

Watch our video to learn more(external link)


aerial view of near completed roundabout

New roundabout on SH1/3 on track for completion

The new permanent roundabout that’s being built outside RNZAF Base Ohakea on State Highway 1/3 is taking shape. The roundabout will make this busy stretch of road between Bulls and Sanson safer for everyone who uses it. The overall Pukenui Road roundabout and shared user path project is on schedule for completion by August 2024.

New roundabout on SH1/3 on track for completion(external link)


Cars travelling through an intersection on a rural road

Construction starting on safety improvements for SH1 between Levin and Foxton

Construction on safety improvements on State Highway 1 between Levin and Foxton have begun. New turning facilities, flexible median and side barrier installation and a new roundabout will feature as part of the project.

Construction starting on safety improvements for SH1 between Levin and Foxton


aerial view of construction of weigh station

Construction underway on Ohakea CVSC

Work has begun on the new Commercial Vehicle Safety Centre (CVSC) that’s being built on Pukenui Road outside Base Ohakea. The Ohakea CVSC will replace the old New Zealand Police weigh station on SH1/3 near Bulls.

Construction underway on Ohakea CVSC(external link)


Major work underway

Manawatu Whanganui map 2024

View larger map [PDF, 811 KB]

Te Ahu a Turanga – Manawatū Tararua Highway

Since April 2017, SH3 through the Manawatū Gorge has been closed because of significant slip damage. A safe, resilient, and efficient replacement route – the $620 million Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway – is being built over the Ruahine Range between Woodville and Ashhurst.

Construction began in January 2021 and is progressing well. Completion is expected mid-2025.

The project has faced a range of challenges, including wet weather, engineering complexities and the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce and supply chain. Despite this, by June 2023 the project had moved more than 5.7 million cubic metres of earth and was close to completing the total site earthworks. Pavement construction got underway in June 2023, with the first aggregate being laid on completed earthworks sections.

More than 870,000 riparian and wetland native plants have been planted throughout the region since the start of construction, with the first plants going in along the side of the highway in 2023. Considerable progress has been made on the six structures along the alignment since construction began, with the three underpasses now structurally complete.

This project has a strong focus on creating positive regional outcomes, including a locals-first approach to recruitment; opportunities for local business; building local capability through training and upskilling; sponsoring local schools, charities and community organisations and having iwi represented at governance, management and operational levels.

Te Ahu a Turanga – Manawatū Tararua Highway

Ōtaki to north of Levin

The Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL) new highway and walking and cycling path project reached a key milestone with resource consent applications lodged with the relevant councils in November 2022. Community engagement is ongoing, including through regular drop-in sessions.

Ōtaki to north of Levin proposed new highway

SH3 Whanganui to Bulls safety improvements

State Highway 3 (SH3) between Whanganui and Bulls is a key route for locals, tourists, and freight but too many people are being killed or seriously injured in crashes while travelling it.

Our priority is to make this a safer stretch of road as soon as possible so that everyone living on and using this section of SH3, can get where they are going safely.

Five people died and 23 were seriously injured in crashes on SH3 between Whanganui and Bulls between 2018 and 2022. All of the crashes where people died were head on crashes.

In 2022, we undertook a study to understand which types of safety improvements would work best for this road. We identified that adding sections of flexible median barrier to the route would be very effective at reducing deaths and serious injuries.

We’re currently investigating where we can install sections of median barrier and locations for building facilities for people to turnaround when barrier is installed.

We will soon be speaking to local residents and the wider community about the proposed safety improvements for the route.

SH3 Whanganui to Bulls safety improvements

SH1/SH3 Bulls to Sanson safety improvements

Construction started in May 2023 for a safety improvement project on SH1/3 between Bulls and Sanson – a new roundabout at Pukenui Rd (the turnoff to RNZAF Base Ohakea). A shared user path between Bulls and Ohakea is also being constructed as part of the project.

SH1/SH3 Bulls to Sanson

SH1 Levin to Foxton safety improvements

Between 2018 and 2022, there were 122 crashes on State Highway 1 (SH1) from Levin to Foxton which resulted in five people dying and 20 being seriously injured.

To help prevent deaths and serious injuries on this road, we’re planning to install a roundabout at the intersection with Waitārere Beach Road, stretches of painted wide centreline, roadside and median barrier, and new turnaround facilities.

The safety improvements will be constructed in stages. Improvements north of the Manawatū River Bridge will be constructed first, followed by improvements south of the bridge (subject to funding approval).

Construction started in January 2024.

SH1 Levin to Foxton safety improvements


We’re committed to a collaborative approach to transport planning, funding and development. It’s an approach that delivers integrated transport solutions that best meet the needs of New Zealanders. To achieve these results, we seek open and honest consultation across a range of activities with all our stakeholders, including road users, business, local government, communities and iwi.

See what we’re currently consulting on

Plan your journey

Find travel times, incident and roadworks information, and regional traffic updates on our Journey Planner website.
Journey Planner(external link)