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Project introduction

The NZ Transport Agency is working on safety improvements to the north face of the SH1 Brynderwyn Hills, south of Whangarei.

  • Estimated project cost

    $17 million to $18 million
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status



The key purpose of this project is to improve safety for road users on this section of the state highway  to ensure safer driving conditions.





The project will realign the existing road to improve safety along this section of state highway. Improvements include:

  • widening the current road
  • removing tight corners towards the top of the hill
  • installing a median wire rope barrier
  • providing a new lookout point over the Bream Bay, Hen and Chicken Islands and the Waipu Plains.

About the project

Construction timeline

The project is being constructed by the Whangarei based contractor, United Civil Construction.

  • Year 1

    In the first year of construction:

    • Installation of environmental protections.

    • Earthwork structural keys at the base of fills and other ground improvements to ensure stability of the earthworks.

    • Cutting embankments down to create better sightlines and the earth material will be used as fill.

    • Engineering fill for the road realignment and widening.

    • Installation of 2km of wire rope barrier protection.

    • Works to ensure the road is to the appropriate standard during the winter shutdown.

    • Some landscaping.

  • Year 2

    In the final year of construction:

    • Final earthworks.

    • New pavements.

    • Remaining wire rope barriers protections.

    • Final landscaping.

  • Environment

    Mitigating any environmental effects from construction is a high priority for us. Erosion and sediment control measures are in place and we are working with the Northland Regional Council to ensure best practice.

    We are also monitoring the Waihoihoi River to ensure the water quality remains high.


Frequently asked questions

  • What is the purpose of the Brynderwyn Hills project?

    The State highway 1 Brynderwyn Hills Safe System project will improve safety for all road users on this section of State highway 1. The project will improve safety along this section of State highway by:

    • Widening the existing road corridor
    • Removing tight corners towards the top of the hill
    • Installing a median wire rope barrier and side barriers
    • Providing a new lookout point over the Bream Bay, Hen and Chicken Islands and the Waipu Plains.
  • Why is the NZ Transport Agency upgrading the northern side when the southern side of the Brynderwyn Hills is dangerous?

    The northern side of the Brynderwyn Hills is a wider road with a southbound passing lane and much longer curves. Because of this drivers tend to speed up on this section. As a consequence there has been a high number of fatal and serious “head-on” (crossing the centre of the road) and “run-off road” (driving off the road) casualties reported along this section of the State Highway in comparison with the national average.

    The Transport Agency acknowledges the high casualty rate on both the Northern and southern sections of the Brynderwyn Hills and is currently preparing a Corridor Plan for Auckland to Whangarei which includes medium term and long term road improvement strategies. The plan will include a long term Brynderwyn Hills strategy.  

  • What does a ‘Safe System’ mean?

    A Safe System approach recognises that people make mistakes, but aims to reduce the likelihood of crashes with a focus to reduce the potential for death or serious injury. To reduce the risks the Transport Agency implements ways of encouraging people to change the way they drive as well as making changes to the road environment.  Improvements may include reducing the speed limit to fit with the road environment and/ or installing median and shoulder barrier protection.

  • How is this being implemented for the Brynderwyn Hills?

    To reduce the severity of crashes the Transport Agency is installing wider shoulders and wire-rope median barrier protection from the top of the hill at Artillery Road to the bottom at Waipu Gorge Road. Wire-rope barriers are being installed along the edge of the road as well as along the centre line.

  • What are wire-rope barriers?

    Wire rope barriers are safety barriers built from steel wire ropes mounted on weak posts. Like all other barriers their main purpose is to stop traffic leaving the road and colliding with solid objects such as other vehicles, trees, poles, etc.

    They are designed so that no part of them can penetrate the passenger compartment of a vehicle, and so that the vehicle remains upright during and after a collision. They are also designed so that after impact, the vehicle has not been deflected into an adjacent traffic lane.

    Further information on wire-rope barriers can be found here