New section of Dome Valley safety improvements completed for Easter


The installation of 2.2 kilometres of median and roadside barriers in the Dome Valley has been completed in time for the Easter long weekend.

These safety improvements are part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s delivery of the Road to Zero programme which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 per cent over the next decade.

"People make mistakes, but those mistakes shouldn't cost us our lives,” says Senior Manager of Road Safety Fabian Marsh. 

“The road safety barriers installed will be there to protect people by catching them when something goes wrong, preventing high severity injuries associated with run-off road crashes or head-on road crashes into oncoming vehicles." 

“Where we have treated roads with median barriers in New Zealand, we have seen a reduction of death and serious injury by at least 65%."

"Median barriers are highly effective and one of the key interventions in the Government's Road to Zero strategy. They provide physical separation to prevent high-speed head-on crashes,” Mr Marsh says.

Seven people have died and more than 30 have been seriously injured in road crashes in the Dome Valley in the last five years. 

Just last month, our project team working on the improvements assisted emergency services at the scene of a nearby head-on collision that killed two people.

"As soon as we saw what had happened, we went straight up to see what we could do to help," Site Supervisor Tom Jessop says.

"My team were quite shaken up. But one thing I told them afterwards was the work we were doing would prevent future crashes like this." 

This latest work adds to an 800-metre flexible barrier installed at the southern end of the valley, just before Christmas.

Road Policing Prevention Manager Sergeant Brett Campbell-Howard says police are working with Waka Kotahi to ensure motorists are driving at the correct speeds through the worksites.

"The parts that are under construction are still high-risk areas and people just need to slow down and be patient over Easter, there is going to be a large flow of traffic going through," says Brett Campbell-Howard.

Easter travel advice 

Waka Kotahi urges motorists to make their Easter holiday journeys safer and smarter by preparing well, planning ahead and making the right choices. Our interactive journey maps show the busiest routes and times over the Easter weekend that can be avoided by planning ahead. 

Journey Planner tool for Easter weekend(external link)

It shows SH1 through Pūhoi will be busiest on Thursday between 2:30pm and 5:15pm and Friday between 9:15am and 3:15pm. Returning on Monday, the busiest times are between 10:00am and 4:30 pm. 

For those heading south from Auckland, the busiest times are between 2:00pm and 6:00pm on Thursday and between 10:00am and 2:00pm on Friday. Returning on Monday, expect the motorway to be busiest from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. 

This video explains the safety improvement works and the impact the recent fatalities had on our crew in the Dome Valley. 

Other content available

In the following video, soundbites from Tom Jessop, Site Supervisor JK construction / Fabien Marsh, Waka Kotahi Senior Manager, Road Safety / Road Policing Prevention Manager Sergeant Brett Campbell-Howard.

B-roll - Installing median safety barriers in Dome Valley / Drive-by of completed median safety barrier stage one / Photos from crash scene/ GV's Dome Valley traffic.

About Dome Valley safety improvements

We’re planning improvements that will help in the short to medium term ahead of the completion of the Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Wellsford project. Once completed, the second stage of the project (Warkworth to Wellsford) will travel west of the Dome Forest, completely separate to the existing SH1. The Dome Valley route will remain for local journeys, walking and cycling, and as an alternate route for traffic if the new road is closed for any reason.

This stretch of road is windy with poor visibility and steep slopes so we are limited to the type of improvements we can use. We know that the following safety improvements suit the road and are proven to save lives:

  • Putting in flexible median safety barriers to prevent head-on crashes and a wide centreline so there’s more space between oncoming vehicles.
  • Making road shoulders wider throughout Dome Valley so it’s safer to pull over, and so there’s more room for people who cycle.
  • Adding new right turn bays at L Phillips Road/Sheepworld and at the Top of the Dome rest area to make it safer to turn.
  • Replacing the northbound and southbound passing lanes at the top of the Dome Valley with wide shoulder so slow vehicles have room to pull over.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: