More progress on Masterton to Carterton safety improvements. Turnaround feature opening soon.


A new turnaround bay is about to make changing directions much safer for drivers using State Highway 2 between Masterton and Carterton.

Road users will see a big change in the road layout when the new turnaround bay is finished next month. The turnaround bay and new median safety barriers will help prevent serious head-on crashes.

Jetesh Bhula, Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, says the bay is designed to allow a safe turning space for cars and larger vehicles, including semi-trailer trucks. It is complemented by other safe-turning areas at the Wiltons Road and Norfolk Road roundabouts.

“It is, first and foremost, a safety feature, creating a safe space for southbound traffic to change direction without having to cross two lanes of traffic. It gives vehicles a safe place to turn into and wait for a space in the traffic before pulling out onto the highway to head north.”

“We’ve had some questions from the community about its location.  We identified a need for a turnaround at the southern end of the new median barrier, and we had the land available. So, it was a cost-effective solution,” Mr Bhula says.

Mr Bhula appreciates the project has been disruptive for residents and road users.

“Projects this large require a lot of effort and construction, so impacts on the community are inevitable. We tried to minimise the long-term effects by building the improvements in one season instead of two. Getting the main works done quicker has created some short-term pain, but the gain is the highway will be ready to use much sooner.”

“The good news is the substantive works will be finished by late August. We will return around November/December to finish road resurfacing, road marking and landscaping. But this won’t be anywhere near as disruptive as the construction works have been and should take about three weeks to complete,” Mr Bhula says.

How a turnaround facility works

We’ve created a video to show how turnarounds make it easier to change direction on a state highway. You can see how the driver only needs to check for traffic coming from one direction at a time.

Turnaround design

Map showing the flexible road safety barrier in the middle of the road and a jug handle shaped turnaround area on one side

Making the road safer

Traffic volumes, intersections, speed, roadside hazards such as poles or ditches, and overtaking danger make State Highway 2, Masterton to Carterton, a high-risk road.

Between January 2010 and December 2019, there were 488 crashes. Four people were killed, and 28 people were seriously injured.

Key safety features include three new roundabouts at high-risk intersections along the Masterton to Carterton corridor:

  • SH2 and Ngaumutawa Road (improving safe access to the heavy traffic bypass).
  • SH2 and Norfolk/Cornwall Roads.
  • SH2 and Wiltons/East Taratahi Roads.

Other key features are central median wire-rope barriers to reduce the risk of head-on crashes, a safe turnaround area near Clareville, and improved line marking and road surfacing along an 8.6 km-long stretch of the highway.