Wellington Scoop

Crash closes State Highway 1 at Ohau

crash at ohau

A crash on State Highway 1 near the Ohau River Bridge closed the main road just before 1pm today. The road was closed for more than three hours.

The NZ Herald reported that the crash involved a motorcycle and a truck, and the motorcyclist was one of two people who were seriously injured.

At 1pm, the NZ Transport Agency advised that the road would remain closed “for a few hours” while investigations into the crash were completed.

At 2.20 the investigation was continuing and the road was still closed, causing considerably delays.

At 3.30: a tow truck had arrived to clear the road, but SH1 was still closed.

It didn’t reopen till 4.20 – more than three hours after the crash.


  1. Nikki Carmichael, 12. January 2021, 16:32

    Stuck in this traffic at 3.40. [via twitter]

  2. greenwelly, 12. January 2021, 16:48

    Police will be treating the crash site as a potentially fatal accident, taking the longer period that the road is closed… But this road is pretty notoriously unsafe, and won’t really get much better until O2NL.

  3. Joe, 13. January 2021, 8:22

    Was the truck coming out of the quarry?

  4. greenwelly, 13. January 2021, 9:31

    >Was the truck coming out of the quarry? Police said the crash was just south of the Ohau Bridge. The quarry is north of the Bridge, so probably not.

  5. bsmith, 13. January 2021, 14:51

    @greenwelly. it’s not the road that’s unsafe, it’s the drivers, who couldn’t drive a pig up a passage, let alone a motor vehicle, that is the problem.

  6. greenwelly, 13. January 2021, 16:15

    @Bsmith.. For a road that is SH1, it is rubbish:
    “Overall, the speed environment, high traffic volumes, poor horizontal and vertical alignment (out of context curves and bridges), roadside hazards, poor intersection form and narrow cross section all contribute to the high severity crashes experienced”

  7. bsmith, 14. January 2021, 6:32

    It might be rubbish, no argument, but give me one example of where a road killed somebody, and there were no contributing factors of poor driving/driver error.

  8. Raoul, 14. January 2021, 8:55

    If the Government was serious about a carbon footprint, then why have we got a dirt track for a National Highway. That road/ dirt track from Wellington to Palmerston North is murder by Government.

  9. John Rankin, 14. January 2021, 9:36

    @bsmith: drivers are only human, so some will be poor drivers and even good drivers will sometimes make mistakes. We see this in the accident statistics: when the vehicle km travelled goes up, so does the number of accidents. We have to design and build roads so that they can tolerate drivers’ errors. That particular stretch of highway is brutally unforgiving. I would like to see NZTA give careful consideration to lowering the speed limit on the whole stretch of SH1 between Otaki and Levin to 80kph.
    Let’s treat traffic accidents the same way we treat aircraft accidents and engineer safety into the system.

  10. bsmith, 14. January 2021, 12:26

    @john rankin. That’s the standard answer isnt it, “lowering the speed limit”, so all the rest of us, who drive to the conditions, now have to pay for the idiots who don’t. Do you honestly think that the idiots will take any notice of a restricted speed limit ??

    No, let’s treat traffic accidents as what they should be, culpable murder, and punish accordingly.

  11. Mike Mellor, 14. January 2021, 16:15

    bsmith: if we treat all crashes as the fault of the driver, we’ll never learn from them. Instead, we should do what happens with air, sea and rail crashes (and near misses). All of these are much safer than travelling by road, and part of the reason for that is that crashes etc are investigated in every respect in order to avoid a recurrence – not just for the purposes of prosecution, as is the norm for road crashes.

    Isn’t avoiding a recurrence what we actually want? And if that includes reducing speed limits (and enforcing them better), that’s a small price to pay.

  12. John Rankin, 14. January 2021, 21:22

    @bsmith asks whether I “honestly think that the idiots will take any notice of a restricted speed limit”. As a regular driver of the stretch of SH1 between Otaki and Levin for many years, my observation is that people obey the speed limits. When it was 100 kph most of the way, people drove at 100 kph. Since NZTA reduced the speed limit to 80 kph in places, people drive at 80 kph there and speed up again for the 100 kph sections.

    Good drivers don’t only “drive to the conditions” but also consider the impact (literally) of error. Most of us are not as good as we think we are at assessing risk. That’s why @MikeMellor’s call for independent, evidence-based assessments of road crashes, followed by systematic safety improvements, is the way to go. As we all know, over 80% of us kiwi drivers think we are above average.