Back in business at Ngāruawāhia


After a summer break, it’s back to business for the road crews working to repair and improve the Ngāruawāhia section of State Highway 1 (SH1) Waikato Expressway.

Road repairs and safety improvements will restart after the Waitangi holiday weekend, which means a return to night-time closures and detours for traffic.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton, says the works will bring the Ngāruawāhia section up to the same standard as neighbouring expressway sections, which enables a speed limit of 110km/h. 

“Work got under way in October and paused to allow for all four lanes to be open over the Christmas holiday season, right through January and the Anniversary and Waitangi weekend public holidays,” Ms Wilton says.

There will be night-time closures and detours, first in the southbound lanes and then northbound, while temporary safety barriers are moved into position.

Dates for overnight closures are:

Southbound:  6 February (Waitangi Day) 10pm-5am, then 7-9 February 7pm-5am 

Northbound: 12-16 February 7pm-5am

The detour route is via Great South Road through Ngāruawāhia and adds around five minutes to travel times. However, not all classes of freight can use the detour and should refer to the link below for more details.

The detour route.

“The safety improvements include barrier upgrades with side barriers made continuous, turnaround bays for emergency service vehicles, shoulder widening, lighting relocations and additional maintenance, which will make this section of the expressway much safer for everyone,” Ms Wilton says.

At the same time, repairs to the road are being made. Some remedial work was done in 2019, with the remainder delayed to allow for further detailed monitoring and assist with the solution.

The remedial works includes sealing over the median area, which was found to be a cause of water entry and pavement damage, reshaping outside lanes and various pavement treatments.

A final, continuous asphalt surface will complete the repair works, replacing the temporary chip-seal surface and asphalt sections, which have been in place during the monitoring period.

Once the barriers are in place work can be done under lane closures and 70km/h speed restrictions in the active work sites.

“The works are expected to finish in March 2024 although  we are working with our contractors to look at programming and resources to have the work finish earlier,” Ms Wilton says.

“We know the delays in fixing this section of the expressway have caused frustration. We’ve needed the time to establish the cause of the deterioration as well as to come up with the best solution.

“We’re looking forward to the Ngāruawāhia section being the same, high standard as the rest of the Waikato Expressway as much as everyone.”

SH1 Ngāruawāhia works information sheet - February 2023 [PDF, 1.4 MB]