Project introduction

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has set new speed limits on SH1 between L Phillips Road (near Sheepworld) and Pūhoi to ensure the speeds are safe and right for this road.

  • Project type

    Speed review


Our vision is a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. We are always looking for ways to improve the safety of our roads, and making speeds safer for all road users is one part of our ‘safe system’ solution to achieve this. This safe system solution is aligned with our road safety strategy, Road to Zero, which sets a target of a 40% reduction in deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Under our speed management programme we identify the roads where safer speed limits will result in the greatest reduction in deaths and serious injuries as quickly as possible, and where we know communities have been calling for change. SH1 between L Phillips Rd (near Sheepworld) and Pūhoi is one of those roads.

What we know about this route

  • Over 23,000 vehicles travel the route each day with vehicle numbers increasing. 
  • There are tight and difficult corners along parts of the route as well as very narrow shoulders and poor visibility. 
  • Between 2010 and 2019, 10 people were killed and 47 seriously injured in crashes on this stretch of road. 
  • People have told us that they feel that there is a safety risk on the road at the Mahurangi West Road due to previous crashes here. 

Along with the devastating effect on families and communities, crashes on this route can cause extensive delays and long detours if there are road closures. 

Note: Statistics are correct at the time they were produced.  

New speed limits

We have reviewed the speed limits on State Highway 1 between L Phillips Road (near Sheepworld) and Pūhoi and set new speed limits which took effect from 14 June 2021.

We have implemented the speed limit changes in a two-phase approach to align with the expected completion of the roundabout and link road to the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway.

  • Phase One – new speed limits came into force on 14 June 2021, as set out in the table below. Please note that temporary speed limits in place on sections of this route will still apply.
  • Phase Two – (when the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway opens) the speed limit will be further reduced to 60km/h from 200m north of Kaipara Flats Road to 365m north of Hudson Rd. We will notify people of this phase two speed limit change at that time. 

New speed limits for SH1 L Phillips Rd to Pūhoi from 14 June 2021 (Phase One)

Location Existing speed limit New speed limit from 14 June 2021 
SH1 North of Warkworth An extension of the 80km/h speed zone (that begins at Wayby Valley Rd) from 180m south of L Phillips Road to 365m north of Hudson Rd, the start of the current 60km/h at the north end of Warkworth.  100km/h 80km/h
SH1 South of Warkworth From 60m south of McKinney Road, the end of the 60km/h at the south end of Warkworth, to 350m north of Pūhoi Road, the current 80km/h change point for the start of Johnstone’s Hill Tunnel.  100km/h 80km/h
SH1 South of Warkworth 
From 285m south of Perry Road to 715m south of Perry Road, locations are the same as currently installed.
Variable 70km/h when a vehicle is turning at the construction site. 100km/h at all other times.  Variable 60km/h when a vehicle is turning at the construction site and 80km/h at all other times. 

Map showing new speed limits from 14 June 2021

Map showing location of speed limits along SH1 between Dome Valley and Puhoi

View larger image [PDF, 705 KB]

New safety improvements at Cowan Bay Road

As part of the speed review process on State Highway 1 L Phillips Road to Pūhoi, we completed technical assessments on the southernmost Pohuehue Viaduct passing lane. Through these assessments we determined it was safer to remove the passing lane and introduce a right turn bay for Cowan Bay Road.

Please note that only the short southbound passing lane at the top of the hill - south of the Pohuehue Viaduct - was removed. The longer southbound passing lane near the bottom of the hill - north of the Viaduct - remains.

The right turn bay for Cowan Bay Road was installed on 31 October 2022. The works involved changes to line markings and associated signage on the existing road, with some vegetation removal to improve sight lines. The overall width of the road has remained unaffected. These changes provide increased safety for road users, eliminate late overtaking, provide better visibility and make it easier to turn in to Cowan Bay Road.

View map of Cowan Bay Road safety improvements [JPG, 192 KB]

Future development in the area north of Warkworth

When proposing these changes, we considered the planned infrastructure improvements in the area of SH1 between Hudson Road and Kaipara Flats Road, including the link from the new motorway, Matakana Link Road and Pak ‘n Save supermarket. 

As part of this planned development, we designed and constructed a roundabout to connect the state highway with the link road to the new motorway.  

We will implement the speed limit changes in a two-phase approach to align with the expected completion of the roundabout and link road to the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth.

  • Phase One  – new speed limits came into force on 14 June 2021, as described in the table above. Please note that temporary speed limits in place on sections of this route still apply.
  • Phase Two – (when the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway opens) the speed limit will be further reduced to 60km/h from 200m north of Kaipara Flats Road to 365m north of Hudson Rd. We will make this further reduction so the speed limit into and out of the roundabout is safer for people driving in this new urban environment where decisions and lane changes will need to be made to enter the new motorway, Warkworth or Matakana link. 

Safety improvements in Dome Valley

As part of our commitment to delivering safety improvements on high risk routes across New Zealand, we have made SH1 between Wellsford and Warkworth safer with safety improvements through Dome Valley. These include installing flexible wire safety barriers, widening the existing road, reshaping embankments, and building right-turn bays at L Phillips Road and Top of the Dome rest area. 

We reduced the permanent speed limit through Dome Valley to 80km/h (in 2008) and the speed limits that were implemented on 14 June 2021 extended this 80km/h speed limit south through to the beginning of the 60km/h speed limit north of Warkworth. 

SH1 Dome Valley safety improvements

Intersection speed zones

There is an intersection speed zone on SH1 at the Pūhoi to Warkworth site access point south of Perry Road.

From 14 June 2021, the variable speed limit at this intersection speed zone will be 60km/h when a vehicle is turning at the construction site. At all other times the speed limit will be 80km/h.

Intersection speed zones are electronic signs that detect when someone is turning into or out of a side road and temporarily reduce the legal speed limit on the state highway. They also do this when someone is crossing the state highway from a side road. Intersection speed zones are sometimes called rural intersection activated warning signs or RIAWS.

Watch the Youtube video below to learn about how intersection speed zones work.