Project introduction

As part of a package of safety improvements for SH1/SH3 between Bulls and Sanson, a new roundabout and shared user path are being constructed. This project will make this busy stretch of road safer for everyone who uses it.

  • Estimated project dates

    May 2023–Jul 2024
  • Estimated project cost

    $11.6 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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Project overview

The State Highway 1 and State Highway 3 corridor between Bulls to Sanson is a vital link to the central and lower North Island. Around 15,000 vehicles use it every day.

We’re making SH1/SH3 between Bulls and Sanson safer for everyone who uses it. Between 2013 and 2022, there were 97 crashes on this 6.4km stretch of road, resulting in 13 people being seriously injured and 32 receiving minor injuries.

A shared user path for pedestrians and cyclists is also being built alongside SH1/SH3 between Pukenui Road and Tangimoana Road, making it safer for people and allowing people to choose how they want to travel. Flexible median barrier is also being installed along this short section of road.

As part of our safety improvement project, a new permanent roundabout is being constructed at the Pukenui Road and SH1/SH3 intersection outside RNZAF Base Ohakea.

  • Construction stages

    In February 2024, we reached a project milestone with the opening of the new roundabout alignment to daytime traffic. In March, the roundabout was opened to traffic 24/7 after the night-time tie-in phase of the project was completed ahead of schedule. Some final asphalting works are scheduled for April.

    The two temporary roads that were built on either side of the roundabout’s construction site, are no longer in use.

    The roundabout is temporarily operating as a single lane with a 30km/h temporary speed limit in place amid ongoing works. It will eventually be line marked to have two lanes in both direction as planned, including turning lanes in and out of Pukenui Road that leads to Base Ohakea.

    Over the next few months, crews will finish constructing the shared user path that’s on the western side of the state highway. Roadside safety barrier is being installed between the path and the northbound lane, and flexible median barrier is being installed to the north of the roundabout. We’re installing more lighting, and plan to upgrade the intersection of the state highway and Wightman Road.

    The overall project is on track to be finished by August 2024.


About the project

The new roundabout will be three-armed and double-laned. There will be two approach (turning) lanes from each direction, with two straight lanes in both directions of travel along the state highway. The turning lanes allow for people turning in and out of Pukenui Road to do so safely. Having straight lanes allows for a steady and continuous flow of traffic along SH1/SH3 between Bulls and Sanson.

We’re building a roundabout in this area because it’s a safer form of intersection control compared to most other intersection types. Roundabouts reduce speeds and make it easier for you to choose the right time to enter flowing traffic.

A roundabout at this location will make the intersection safer, and will also reduce delays to vehicles coming out of Pukenui Road. This will become more important as traffic on this road increases with developments at Base Ohakea and the construction of the new CVSC (formerly Police weigh station). Construction on the CVSC began in late 2023.

Ohakea commercial vehicle safety centre (CVSC)

We are installing a short section of flexible median barrier between the northern end of the new roundabout and ending before the turn into Wightman Road. This is about 700 metres (roughly a one-minute drive) of median barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes. Barrier is also being installed between the shared user path itself and the northbound lane. The number of pedestrians and cyclists travelling on the side of the state highway is expected to increase following the construction of the path. Barriers will protect people using the shared user path and prevent head on crashes on this section of road.

About flexible road safety barriers

Ōhakea roundabout design

Permanent roundabout design.