Safety Improvements ahead for Ngāruawāhia section of the Waikato Expressway


Update: There is a change to the schedule for night-time detours under way on the Ngāruawāhia section of the Waikato Expressway.

Over the past two weeks north-bound traffic has been detoured Sunday to Thursdays. This has been extended a week from this Sunday 13 November to Thursday 17 November

South-bound closures and detours will get under way the following week, but these will run for just a single week 20-24 November.

The detour map appears below.

The detours are required for barrier installation ahead of major remedial and safety works on the Ngāruawāhia section, to bring it up to the same standard as neighbouring sections operating at 110km/h.

The north-bound extension next week is to allow more time for some initial pavement work to be completed.

More about the project and detour routes, especially for freight [PDF, 1.2 MB] 

This information updates the media release below:

17 October 2022

Pavement repairs and safety improvement on the Ngāruawāhia section of the Waikato Expressway are getting under way from Tuesday 25 October.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is undertaking improvements to bring this section up to the same standard as neighbouring expressway sections which have been built to allow for a speed limit of 110km/h.

The safety improvements will see side barriers made continuous, some barriers upgraded, additional maintenance, turnaround bays for emergency services, shoulder widening and some lighting relocations.

At the same time, repairs to the road surface will be undertaken. Some of this remedial work was done in 2019 with the remainder delayed to allow for further detailed monitoring and to determine the root cause of pavement failure and the best solution.

The remedial works include sealing over the median area, which was a cause for 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 the sections of asphalt, which have been in place during the monitoring period.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Transport Services, Jo Wilton, says that Waka Kotahi and the roading industry have learnt valuable lessons from Ngāruawāhia pavement design, which has failed in some places, and have since developed new approaches on other projects.

“This new pavement design (called Hi-Lab) was used on the completed Longswamp, Huntly and Hamilton sections,” Ms Wilton says.

‘’The Waikato Expressway has been built in different sections over a lot of different ground conditions, but with the same goal – a safe and durable four-lane highway stretching over 102km.’’

The Ngāruawāhia section of the expressway opened in late 2013. It was built by Fletcher Construction under a design and construct contract. The proposed works will be completed by Fletcher Construction with the repair portion completed under a cost-sharing arrangement with Waka Kotahi.

Steel temporary barriers will be installed to protect contractors in work areas and these will require overnight detours.

These detours will be on Sunday to Thursday nights, 7pm-5am, for two weeks north-bound from 30 October-10 November and then two weeks south-bound from 13-24 November.

Ngaruawahia detour route

Ngāruawāhia detour map

The detour route is via the old state highway through Ngāruawāhia, between Gordonton Road and Horotiu interchanges. It will be clearly sign-posted and will add about five minutes to journey times. As it is not suitable for heavy vehicles, HPMV should use SH1B.

Once the barriers are in place work can be done under lane closures and 70km/h speed restrictions in the active work sites. The longest work area is 3km. Work hours are 7am-5pm Monday-Friday with limited night works.

The works are expected to finish in March 2024 - and the road open at 110km/h, in line with neighbouring sections’ speed limit.

“This is a major project over 14 months and while it will be disruptive for SH1 users we will be doing our best to keep traffic moving through the worksites,” Ms Wilton says.

Key dates

  • 25 October: work starts – north-bound lane closure and speed restrictions (Sunday-Thursday night detours)
  • 30 October – 10 November: north-bound detours via Ngāruawāhia
  • 13–24 November: south-bound detours via Ngāruawāhia

More information

Ngāruawāhia remedial and safety works information sheet [PDF, 1.2 MB]