Busy days on State Highway 1 – plan for delays


People travelling between Waikato and the lower North Island on State Highway 1 over the next few months are encouraged to plan ahead and check the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Journey planner before setting off.

There are multiple projects and maintenance worksites underway – aimed at improving the roads, increasing safety and making people’s journey more enjoyable – however in the short-term this will impact travel times.

As SH1 is New Zealand’s most crucial inter-regional state highway, linking the north to the south, NZTA is reminding motorists using SH1 between Taupiri, north of Hamilton, and Ohakea in the lower North Island, to be prepared for roadworks. Crews are making the most of the last spurt of amazing summer weather and working through the road renewal program, in the run up to Easter.

Taupiri (Ngāruawāhia Bypass)

Remedial and safety improvements are underway on this section of the Waikato Expressway. Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction and temporary speed limits are in place. A series of overnight closures are underway; northbound until Thursday 22 February and southbound from Sunday 25 February through to Thursday 7 March. Detours are available northbound via Ngāruawāhia and southbound via State Highway 1B.


SH1, near Karāpiro, sees 1.5km of shoulder widening works taking place until the end of February, followed by median barrier installation. During the majority of the construction the slow (left-hand) lane of the southbound passing lane between Keeley’s Reserve and Moana Roa Road will be closed, and the worksite will be under a temporary speed limit of 50km/h. Expected completion late June 2024.


Road rehabilitation started Monday 19 February near Lichfield and will continue until Tuesday 5 March. There will be stop/go in place from 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. From Monday March 11 there will be a closure with detours for light vehicles from 7am to 6pm, with detours via SH1 Wiltsdown Road, Paraonui Road, and Rollett Road, back to SH1. Heavy vehicles will continue through the worksite where stop/go traffic management will be in place. Delays are to be expected. 


Until early March, a 6.9km section of SH1, from the Waikato River Bridge south to Thorpe Road, is being widened and safety barriers will be installed. Work is taking place behind temporary safety barriers and there is a 50km/h speed restriction. Stop/go is now in place 24/7 at a narrow section where safety barriers cannot be used. Motorists should expect delays of up to 5 minutes.


The journey past Taupō, on SH1 East Taupō Arterial, also has traffic management and a speed reduction in place while safety improvement work continues. Work started in January with a mid-year completion. The northbound road shoulder is being widened by 1.5m, making room for barrier installation, and some northbound lanes will receive side barriers and guardrail. Motorists may experience short delays. 

More information

Desert Road

Road rehabilitation at multiple sites north of Waiouru on the Desert Road is taking place, this work requires nighttime road closures between 6pm to 6am Sunday to Thursday until mid-March. A temporary speed limit in place during the day and short delays are to be expected.


SH1 at Utiku, between the intersection of Micklesons Road and Utiku South Road, road rehabilitation and drainage works are taking place. Until Sunday 25 February, stop/go traffic management may cause delays of up to 20 minutes. 

More information


Between 6-8 weeks of nighttime closures began on Sunday 18 February, with a sign-posted detour in place. A section of SH1/SH3 between Bulls and Sanson is closed at night between 7.30pm and 6am, Sunday nights – Friday mornings. Outside of these hours, the road and new roundabout outside RNZAF Base Ohakea in Manawatū is open for all motorists each day, including all day Friday and Saturday. A temporary 30km/h speed limit is in place through site. Motorists should expect some delays and factor an extra 5-10 minutes into their journey time during the detour. 

More information


Construction on a turnaround facility at the southern entry to Foxton is underway. Once this is complete, flexible median barrier will be installed between Foxton and the Manawatū River Bridge. A temporary speed limit of 30km/h is in place. The work is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

Ōtaki to Ohau

The Ōtaki to Ohau safety improvement project is well underway. All side and median barriers have now been installed and all three turnarounds are complete. Construction workers are currently onsite south of Manakau Rail Overbridge completing widening works, preparing to install a right turn bay into Whakahoro Road and a flush median south of the bridge. We expect this project will be complete mid-2024. 

More information


Map showing work sites between Taupiri and Otaki stretch of road.

View larger map of the work sites between Taupiri and Ōtaki [PDF, 740 KB]


NZTA asks drivers to take extra care, reduce their speed and follow directions of traffic management staff and signage when travelling through work sites.

Visit Journey Planner for the latest information on roadworks, traffic, road closures and detours to help plan your trip.

Journey planner(external link)