Project introduction

Improvements to the SH1 and Loop Road intersection to make it safer and easier to use. This is part of the important strategic link between Auckland and Whangārei.

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Project update – Stage 2 construction is underway

Northlanders will see more activity at the Loop Road roundabout as construction of Stage 2 of the Loop Road safety improvements is well underway.

Our construction partner Oxcon CLL started work in early March 2023, with the southbound lane and bridge over the Otaika Stream. The design will provide a safe merging distance from the newly completed dual lane roundabout, and includes realigning the existing entrance to Oaks Road, to allow for safe entry and exit.

Environmental controls are being installed and the preloading process has begun to compact the ground where the road will be built.

We acknowledge that there were delays throughout the first stage of the project, which inconvenienced residents and people travelling through the area. During Stage 2, a large amount of construction can be done without disruption, and it will only be the ‘tie-ins’ at the roundabout and south of Otaika Stream that will need more intensive traffic management. There will, however, be temporary speed limits of 30km/h and 50km/h at times while construction vehicles are moving around, and widths are reduced.

The new bridge will be built to the east of the existing bridge, to a new design standard that takes climate change and sea level rise into consideration. Meaning it will be approximately 1.8 metres taller than the existing bridge on State Highway 1 (SH1), which will be retained for northbound traffic.

Completion for the Loop Road safety improvements project is planned for early 2025.

Project context

Loop Road is the southern portion of an ‘inland freight route’, which crosses SH1 south of Whangārei. The intersection with the state highway is a critical connection for the Northland forestry sector on the journey to and from Northport at Marsden Point, where logs are sent for export.

At this location, SH1 carries approximately 19,000 vehicles per day. A high percentage of this is heavy freight traffic (13%) and a significant portion of forestry traffic in Northland. With increasing traffic volumes in a high-speed environment, there is a growing safety risk and operational delays for freight traffic at this location.

Safety improvements to the SH1/SH15 Loop Road intersection and the SH1/Portland Road intersection will ensure communities, visitors, and freight travel safely across the state highway network south of Whangārei.

  • Key features of stage 1 works

    The Loop Road project was originally designed as a safety improvement for the intersection of SH1/SH15 and the Portland Rd/SH1/Loop Rd South intersection. The original scope included a single lane roundabout at the SH1/SH15 (Loop Road North) intersection, with a future proofed footprint, allowing the roundabout to be upgraded to a dual lane round about in future.

    The Portland Road intersection was also widened to support safe right turns and to provide a left slip lane into Portland Road. A turnaround facility was built on Portland Road so vehicles exiting Oaks Road could make a safe right turn onto SH1. The southern end of Loop Road was closed off from SH1 and north of the roundabout, the carriageway was widened to provide two lanes. This first stage of work was completed by Fulton Hogan.

  • Key features of stage 2 works

    Stage 2 of the project builds upon previous work to provide dual lanes southbound on SH1, from the new roundabout and a dual lane bridge to the east of the existing bridge. The new carriageway is approximately 1.8m higher than the existing bridge to accommodate future flood levels.

    The Oaks Rd/SH1 residential intersection will also be moved 60m further to the south. The final layout will see northbound traffic on the existing SH1 and southbound traffic on the new carriageway. Their shared path, which started in Stage 1 will be extended south, across the new bridge and through to Oaks Rd.

  • Benefits of the safety improvements
    • The roundabout has significantly improved safety and freight efficiency on SH1, particularly for vehicles exiting Loop Road (North).
    • Changes to the Portland Road intersection have improved safety with greater sight visibility and separation from state highway traffic, when turning in and out of Portland Road.
    • The closure of Loop Road (South) has improved safety by removing conflicting turning movements at the SH1/Portland Road intersection.
    • The closure of Loop Road (South) has improved safety for the Otaika Valley School community, by significantly reducing vehicle numbers, including heavy vehicles, passing the school.
    • Safety improvements to the SH1/SH15 Loop Road intersection and the SH1/Portland Road intersection ensures communities, visitors, and freight travel safely across the state highway network south of Whangārei.
    • Improved stormwater management and riparian planting will enhance the environment and prevent untreated stormwater entering the Otaika Stream

Design maps

Note: Artist impressions for communications purposes only. Not drawn to scale.

Funding source

Implementation of this project is included in the National Land Transport Programme 2018–21.

National Land Transport Programme 2018–21