Loop Road is the southern portion of an ‘inland freight route’, which crosses SH1 south of Whāngārei. 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 is carrying approximately 19,000 vehicles per day. A high percentage is heavy freight traffic (13%), collecting 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 Whāngarei.
A single lane roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of SH15 Loop Road (North) and SH1.
Construction of the roundabout will include additional earthworks to ensure the intersection is future proofed for a dual lane roundabout to be constructed when required.
The project will also provide an improved Portland Road intersection with road widening to support safe right turns and a left turn slip lane into Portland Road.
The intersection of Otaika Valley Road (SH15) and Loop Road (South) will also be improved to assign intersection priority to SH15 users.
Towards the end of construction, the intersection of Loop Road (South) and SH1 will be closed to vehicles.
A flexible wire barrier will be installed across the SH1/Loop Road (South) intersection with access provided for pedestrians and cyclists only.
The barrier design allows for removal in the event the intersection needs to be reopened as a state highway detour route under emergency traffic management.
The project includes improved stormwater management including a widened culvert south of Portland Road and a new culvert and sediment retention ponds north of the roundabout.
- The roundabout will significantly improve safety and freight efficiency on SH1, particularly for vehicles exiting Loop Road (North).
- Improvements to Portland Road intersection will improve safety by providing greater sight visibility and improved separation from state highway traffic for turning movements in and out of Portland Road.
- The closure of Loop Road (South) aims to improve safety on the state highway by removing conflicting turning movements with the SH1/Portland Road intersection.
- The closure of Loop Road (South) also improves safety for the Otaika Valley School community by significantly reducing vehicle numbers, including heavy vehicles, past the school.
- 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 Whāngarei.
- Improved stormwater management and riparian planting will enhance the environment and prevent untreated stormwater entering the Otaika Stream.