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Project introduction

This project will make State Highway 1 between Selwyn River and Ashburton safer. Improvements could include widening the centreline or putting in a median barrier to keep traffic apart and prevent head-on crashes. These changes will prevent people from being killed or seriously injured on this road.

  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


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Making the road safer

State Highway 1 between the Selwyn River and Ashburton is a high-risk rural road.

Thirteen people have died and 49 have been seriously injured in crashes between 2007 and 2016.

70 percent of deaths are from head-on crashes.

The NZ Transport Agency has been looking at ways to make this road safer. To make sure we get things right we sought feedback from the community and key stakeholders as we worked on a possible design.

We held a series of community events in Ashburton, Rākaia and Dunsandel in December to share our ideas and find out more from people who use the road. We also invited feedback online and by mail.

We asked people what makes this road feel unsafe and what worries them the most.

The main things that make people feel unsafe:

  • The high traffic volumes
  • Drivers crossing the centreline
  • Walking and/or driving across SH1 at Rākaia and Dunsandel
  • Turning off and on the State Highway in general, but in particularly at the Sharlands Road, Frasers Road, Browns Road and Dromore intersections
  • Parking around the Mobil Service Station in Rākaia and food outlets in Dunsandel which makes visibility difficult for local traffic
  • Crossing the Rākaia Bridge.

This valuable feedback helped us shape a proposed plan to help stop people dying or being seriously injured on this road.

It includes:

  • Installing flexible road safety barrier down the middle of the road in lengths to stop head-on crashes.
  • Adding turn-around areas at regular intervals to give locals places to safely move around.
  • Changing some intersections so there is no right turn in or out of roads off the highway. This can help prevent side on (t-bone) crashes caused by drivers turning across the busy highway. This will also prevent drivers from crashing into the back of vehicles that are waiting to turn right, and vehicles stacking over the railway line while waiting to turn right.
  • Improving other intersections and add right turning bays to make those intersections safer.
  • Installing sections of side barrier in high-risk locations (such as in front of a culvert or drain).
  • Laying rumble strips to give tired or distracted drivers a wake-up call if they stray across the line.
  • Improving road markings so they are easier to see at night and in wet weather.
  • Widening the centreline so there is more space between traffic travelling in opposite directions.
  • Instigating speed reviews at Dunsandel, Rākaia, Chertsey, Selwyn and across the Rākaia Bridge

You can look at the project map here [PDF, 4.4 MB]

Our proposed plan is not final. Over the next few months we will be taking it out into the community and to key stakeholders to make sure we have got it right. We’ll consider the feedback we get before making any final decisions.

We expect to have a final preferred option in 2019. Once we have informed the community we will finalise the design and work through our internal processes to apply for construction funding.