aerial view of otaki

Project introduction

Safety improvements on State Highway 1 (SH1) from the new Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway to Ohau include stretches of edge and median barriers, wider centrelines and turnarounds. Plus, we’ve changed the speed limits from south of Manakau to north of Ohau.

  • Project type

    Safety improvements, Speed review
  • Project status


Construction updates

  • September 2023

    The first phase of safety improvement work between Ōtaki and Manakau is well underway. While this work continues to progress, we will soon begin construction on the next phase of the project, from Manakau to Ohau.

    This section of work includes stretches of median and side barriers and painted wide centrelines. We will also be working to make the intersection of Waikawa Beach Road and State Highway 1 safer. This work is expected to be complete this summer.

    Our safety improvements are underpinned by the Safe System approach, recognising that people make mistakes, but these mistakes do not need to cost us our lives.

    Now that Transmission Gully and the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway are complete, drivers travel from Wellington to north of Ōtaki on dual-lane, median separated highways. These safety improvements are designed to transition drivers from this environment through to the single lane State Highway 1, by stepping them through single-lane median separated road, then stretches of wide centrelines.

    This work is expected to be complete this summer.

    The map below shows the planned works for safety improvements from Manakau to Ohau.

    Ōtaki to Ohau safety improvments map

  • May 2023

    Ōtaki to Ohau safety improvement work is underway, with the first phase of work between Ōtaki and Manakau. Three turnaround bays and stretches of median and side barriers will be installed between Ōtaki and Manakau. This is expected to be complete next summer.

    These safety improvements are designed to transition drivers safely from the dual-lane, median separated highways from Wellington to north of Ōtaki, to the single-lane State Highway 1.

    The southern-most turnaround, at the existing rest area south of the Forest Lakes hill is almost complete and expected to open at the end of the month.

    Construction of the second turnaround south of Pukehou Rail Overbridge started in April, and is expected to take about six weeks, subject to weather. While this work is underway, a temporary road layout is in place which shifts both lanes to the east to ensure traffic can continue to flow and minimise any delay with a 50km/h speed limit for the duration of the work.

    Work on the third turnaround, at Gleeson Road, is expected to begin in June.

    Additional stretches of side barriers have been included in the design of the southern section, to ensure the road is safe and appropriate for the 100km/h speed limit in this area. If you are in a crash, side barriers keep you from hitting more significant hazards like poles, trees or drainage ditches.

    The turning lanes into Forest Lakes Road and South Manakau Road will remain as they are to ensure safe turning in and out of these roads. A new right turn bay will also be implemented at Atkins Road.

    See the map below for planned works for the first phase of work, between Ōtaki and Manakau.

    View larger map [PDF, 134 KB]

  • December 2022

    In July 2021, we shared proposals for safety improvements on State Highway 1 between Ōtaki and Levin. In the time since, we have continued to refine the proposed designs while also delivering early safety improvement infrastructure between Manakau and Ohau, completed earlier this year.

    At engagement, we presented plans for stretches of median barriers, painted wide centrelines, side barriers and a roundabout at the SH1/SH57 intersection.

    As with all Waka Kotahi projects, we have conducted thorough reviews of our plans on SH1 before we move into construction. This is to ensure we get the best safety improvements possible within the scope of each project.

    Following community and stakeholder feedback and these technical reviews, we've identified a number of areas where changes to the design needed to be made to make the road as safe as possible. This includes changes to the 'southern turnaround' location and additional stretches of median barrier between Manakau and Ohau. The SH1/SH57 roundabout is also no longer included in this safety improvements project.

    This safety improvement package includes:

    • Wire-rope centreline barriers from the end of the new Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway, with three turnaround areas:
      • Gleeson Road
      • South of Pukehou Rail Overbridge
      • North of the new PP2Ō Expressway
    • Wire-rope centreline barriers in some sections north of Manakau
    • Improving curves by reshaping the road camber in unsafe locations.
    • Side barriers to protect from roadside hazards
    • Improving the driveway entrance to Wehi Wehi Marae

    We are currently working out a timeline with a contractor for the construction of the proposed safety improvements on SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin. We expect to be on site in early 2023.

  • December 2021 - early improvements package – Kuku section

    In December 2021, work started on an early safety improvements package on SH1 between Manakau and Ohau. This included resurfacing the road and changing the line markings between Tatum Park conference centre and Ohau Rail Overbridge as well as:

    • Permanently removing the passing lanes in both directions. The short length of the northbound passing lane and right turn bay at the end of the southbound passing lane was putting people at risk.
    • Providing a painted wide centreline. To create greater separation between vehicles travelling in opposite directions
    • Providing wider road shoulders. To provide places where slower vehicles can pull aside to let others pass.
    • Improving the road surface. To improve the grip of the road for vehicle tyres.

    We also added safe hit posts (flexible marker posts) to the centreline of the road in some places. These help make the road lanes clearer to drivers by providing an additional visual cue on the centreline. These were  placed to avoid impacting places where people need to turn across the centre line into driveways.

    The construction of these safety improvements was completed in March 2022.


Safe speeds

In December 2022, we rolled out safer speed limits on State Highway 1 between Manakau and Ohau. A temporary speed limit of 80km/h had already been in place in 2022 at Kuku.

We engaged with the public and stakeholders in 2021 and held formal consultation on the proposed speeds in June/July 2022.

Formal consultation, along with technical assessments helped to determine safe and appropriate speeds for these roads. We reviewed the speeds that people were currently travelling at, the nature and design of the road itself, as well as the various infrastructure improvements planned, under construction and completed on these roads.

We also considered the future use of these roads with the upcoming completion of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway.

Our speeds really matter. They can make a substantial difference to creating safe and sustainable communities. By adopting safe speeds on our roads and streets, we can help everyone get around safely, no matter how they travel.

View the full list of speed limit changes, as well as map:
Horowhenua safe speeds

SH1 south of Levin community engagement

We sought feedback in July and August 2021 on the proposed safety improvements on SH1 between Taylors Road and the SH57 intersection. These improvements will make the corridor safer in the meantime, while work progresses to deliver the new Ōtaki to north of Levin highway within the next decade.

We asked your thoughts on the current speed limits on SH1, between Taylors Road and Kawiu Road. This feedback will help us determine if a speed limit change will improve safety.

You can still view what others had to say on our interactive map:

View online feedback(external link)

An enagement summary is available for viewing:

SH1 Ōtaki to Levin safety improvements and speed engagement report [PDF, 10 MB]

Project Contacts

Ōtaki to north of Levin project team –
More contact info
  • Phone: 0508 625 4636
  • Alternatively you can write to us:
    Ōtaki to north of Levin Project Team
    Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Level 5)
    Private Bag 6995
    Wellington 6141