Wellington Scoop

Crash at Paremata roundabout delays morning traffic

There were delays of more than an hour for traffic heading for Wellington on State Highway One this morning after a crash blocked both south-bound lanes at the Paremata roundabout.

NZTA reported the crash at 7.55am. The vehicles had been cleared after 35 minutes, but congestion continued, with “significant delays” for more than an hour.

Wellington.Scoop – March 3
There was a second afternoon of delays on State Highway 1 north of Wellington today – but this time it was northbound traffic that was congested.

The problems had started by 11.30am, when the NZ Transport Agency reported delays from Porirua to Mana, and heavy delays between Peka Peka and Otaki. It said motorists should be prepared for delays of approximately 45 minutes between Wellington and Levin.

Ninety minutes later, the congestion had worsened.

The NZTA reported at 1pm that traffic remained heavy from Porirua to Mana and along the coast, with heavy congestion north from Waikanae to Ōtaki. Road users were told to expect northbound delays of approximately 90 minutes between Wellington and Levin.

At 3pm the congestion was continuing, but delays between Wellington and Levin were said to be down to 60 minutes.

At 4.45, congestion northbound remained heavy through Paremata to Mana and along the coast, and from Waikanae to Ōtaki, with queues starting near Smithfield Rd.

At 6pm, there was still congestion northbound from Waikanae to Ōtaki, with queues still at Smithfield Rd. But things were getting better at Mana.

It wasn’t till 7pm that the NZTA reported: congestion northbound from Waikanae to Ōtaki is easing, with minor delays remaining.

Wellington.Scoop – March 2
Southbound traffic on State Highway One was queued from Otaki back to Levin this afternoon, according to the NZ Transport Agency. It told motorists at 1.35 that they would be delayed by 90 minutes because of the congestion.

Fifty minutes earlier, the delays were one hour.

Congestion was first reported at midday, when there were delays of 45 minutes.

Problems continued through the afternoon, with delays of 80 minutes at 3.30.

At 4.30 – the delays (now in their fifth hour) were down to 60 minutes.

At 5.10, the queues were still south of Levin near Buller Road, with “significant delays” to Otaki.

It wasn’t till 7pm that the NZTA reported the congestion had eased. Seven hours of delays on SH1 were finally over.


  1. TrevorH, 3. March 2019, 12:36

    So let’s replace an inadequate, dangerously overloaded two lane highway with another inadequate, dangerously overloaded two lane highway.

  2. Dave B, 4. March 2019, 16:13

    @ Trevor, if you are referring to the proposed Manakau-to-North-of-Levin highway, the main danger on the existing road is the curved bridge over the railway north of Manakau (which simply needs a lower speed limit), and the overall absence of median barriers. Sort these items and the existing road becomes much safer. Traffic flows do not justify a 4-lane motorway.

  3. TrevorH, 5. March 2019, 9:57

    @ Dave B: why not go all the way and require all vehicles between Manakau and Levin to follow a pedestrian waving a red flag or lantern (in poor visibility), as per the Red Flag Act of 1865? Horse drawn carts would of course have right of way at intersections.

  4. NigelTwo, 5. March 2019, 13:50

    @TrevorH. There are some advantages to building this new “two lane highway”.
    1) It will duplicate/replace 4 absolutely dreadful/narrow bridges. There are no alternatives to these presently.
    2) It will have median and side barriers.
    3) It will have a greatly reduced number of intersections (think trailers of brocolli towed by a tractor, and quarry trucks/trailers pulling out across 100kph traffic).
    4) IF there is a holdup, everyone can rat-run along the old road, yippee!
    5) It will partially reduce the bottleneck that is Levin.
    I actually found it hard to write positively about this, but the money is needed elsewhere. Can you believe that there are worse pieces of road in our country?

  5. greenwelly, 5. March 2019, 14:53

    @NigelTwo. Other than route protection and acquisition, I would not hold your breath on actually seeing any construction in the next few years,
    “Subject to funding approval, we will be working with property owners, the community and other stakeholders through 2019 and early 2020 as we further investigate and progress design of the road, within the preferred corridor. The construction timing and form of this new route will depend on growth and funding priorities across the rest of the country.”

  6. Trevor H, 5. March 2019, 18:35

    Each day’s delay, each needless death should be laid at the feet of this government. Road tax revenue has been raided to build a tram in Auckland.

  7. aom, 5. March 2019, 23:07

    And each death attributable to environmental pollution should be laid at the door of those who oppose spending on carbon neutral mass-transport options eh Trevor?

  8. TrevorH, 6. March 2019, 7:14

    @aom: mass transit has limited application in New Zealand, unlike Tokyo or London. Four-laning SH1 between Otaki and Levin is however a practicable and applicable solution to a serious problem that exists in the here and now. In these circumstances to do nothing is indefensible.

  9. luke, 6. March 2019, 17:17

    Four-laning is most likely a lot more expensive than safety improvements and will simply encourage more single-occupant vehicle trips. Not at all convinced it’s the most prudent use of funds.

  10. Mike Mellor, 6. March 2019, 19:11

    TrevorH: could you tell us how big the “serious problem” is? At a quick glance I can’t see how many of NZ’s 300+ road deaths a year have occurred on this stretch, or why it should take precedence over other safety projects.

    And one of the most effective ways of reducing road deaths is to get people out of cars – travelling by car is roughly ten times more dangerous than travelling by public transport. Given the nature of induced traffic, four-laning without at least commensurate investment in public transport (whether road or rail) could well actually make the road more dangerous, as has been the case with Karo Drive in Wellington.

  11. TrevorH, 7. March 2019, 7:50

    @ Mike Mellor: the mayors of Kapiti and Horowhenua as well as former Coroner Phillip Comber have labelled this stretch of SH 1 a “killing field” (see the attached article: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12168235). No doubt NZTA could provide further details.

  12. Mike Mellor, 7. March 2019, 12:34

    Thanks, Trevor, but that’s anecdote rather than evidence. Clearly local mayors will be in favour of a local improvement, but NZTA has to take a national view. Would the four-laning money give better safety results if spent elsewhere, or in a different way? We don’t know if four-laning would result in an overall reduction in safety (and note that the Karo Drive project has made safety worse rather than better.)

    Without supporting evidence, “four-laning SH1 between Otaki and Levin is … a practicable and applicable solution to a serious problem” is just an opinion, no more and no less.