New Zealand State Highway network

From Academic Kids

The New Zealand State Highway network is a network of roads covering the North and South Islands. Currently about 85 roads have a "State Highway" designation: Transit New Zealand administers them. The speed limit for most State Highways is 100 km/h, with reductions when a State Highway passes through a built-up area.

The highways were originally designated on a two-tier system, National (SH 1-8) and Provincial, with national highways having a higher standard and funding priorities. Now all are State Highways, and the network consists of SH 1 running the length of both main islands, SH 2-5 and 10-58 in the North Island, and SH 6-8 and 60-99 in the South Island.

State Highways are marked on the side of the road by red shield-shaped signs with white numbering (shields for the former Provincial Highways were blue). Road maps usually use this convention.

From 2001 information, the busiest stretch of SH 1 was the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with over 150,000 cars crossing (either way) each day. The least busy parts of the network (excluding off-ramps and on-ramps) are parts of SH 43 north of Whangamomona, which get fewer than 200 cars (counting both directions) in a day. Some of the lesser trafficked highways still contain some unsealed sections.


History of the State Highways

Since the 1980s State Highways have been the responsibility of Transit New Zealand, a state-owned corporation. Since Transit NZ funds only State Highways, city or district councils have sometimes negotiated reallocation of highway routes within their boundaries in order to let Transit part-fund major upgrades to the regional roading network. For example, SH 1 historically ran through the centre of Christchurch, but is now the Christchurch bypass route, while SH 73 and 74 have been extended further into the city to cover major arterial routes.

Highway routes around Tauranga and in the Napier/Hastings region have undergone major changes in recent years.

Distance Markers

State Highways are marked with posts at irregular intervals giving the distance in kilometres from the start of the highway. All bridges on the network have, at either end, small plaques showing the distance from the start of the highway, usually in the form of a number in kilometres, an oblique stroke, and a further number in hundreds of metres. A plaque marked 237/141, for example, would indicate that the bridge is 14.1 km past a set distance post, that post being 237 km from the start of the highway.

As of 2004 these plaques are gradually being replaced by a new system which gives each bridge a single number showing the distance from the start of the highway in hundreds of metres. Under the new system the bridge used as an example above would show a plaque with its name and the number 2511, as it is 251.1 km from the start of the highway.

In this way, travellers can accurately assess their location, and road authorities can identify each bridge uniquely.

State Highway 1

SH 1 starts at Stirling Point, 1 km south of Bluff, and then goes north to Invercargill, and north-east to Gore. It runs due east to Balclutha, then up through Milton to Dunedin. The highway continues along the east coast past Palmerston, Oamaru and Timaru, moving inland a bit and then north-east through Ashburton toward Christchurch, which it now bypasses. After traversing the northern end of the Canterbury Plains it winds through some ranges culminating in the Hundalees before returning to the spectacular, mountain-hugging coastline around Kaikoura. SH 1 then continues up the coastline for 80 km before diverting inland to Blenheim and up to Picton at the north of the South Island, terminating at the inter-island ferry terminal.

Ferries cross Cook Strait to the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. There have been calls for the ferries to be classified as part of the State Highway network, in the belief that this would increase the Government's powers to intervene and keep the ferries running at times of industrial action.

The northern part of SH 1 commences at Wellington Airport and runs through the city and up the Ngauranga Gorge to the western coast. Difficult terrain and a large number of satellite towns make this an area of considerable congestion and a high accident rate. SH 1 passes through Levin and shares the route of SH 3 for a 6-km section between the small towns of Sanson and Bulls as it crosses the Rangitikei River. Turning north-east, it follows the river to Taihape, then climbs to the central plateau at Waiouru. The stretch between Waiouru and Turangi is known as the Desert Road, and is frequently closed by snow in winter. There are spectacular views of the three volcanoes Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.

Turangi is near the southern tip of Lake Taupo and the highway skirts the eastern shore. North of Taupo, the highway turns north-westwards and descends through extensive tracts of plantation forest to Tokoroa and Tirau. Here it joins the Hamilton - Rotorua route and follows the course of the Waikato River through Cambridge to Hamilton. A $NZ500 million project to convert the entire 160 km between Cambridge and Auckland to a four-lane divided carriageway is about one third complete as of late 2003.

From Auckland the highway tends to follow the eastern side of the Northland peninsula, passing through Warkworth, Wellsford, Whangarei and Kaitaia. The highway ends at Waitiki Landing, from where SH 1F - designated in 2004 - runs to Cape Reinga.

List of New Zealand State Highways


North Island

  • SH 10 Awanui to SH 1 at Pakaraka, 106 km
  • SH 11 Paihia to SH 1 at Kawakawa, 16 km
  • SH 12 SH 1 79 km south of Kaitaia to SH 1 28 km north of Wellsford, via Kaikohe and Dargaville, 223 km
  • SH 14 SH 1 at Whangarei to Dargaville, 58 km
  • SH 15 SH 1 at Whangarei to port of Whangarei, 4 km
  • SH 16 Port of Auckland to SH 1 at Wellsford via Helensville (including the Northwestern Motorway in Auckland)
  • SH 17 SH 1 at Albany to Kaukapakapa (old SH 1 route superseded by motorway), 25 km
  • SH 18 SH 1 at Upper Harbour Highway interchange to SH 16 at Massey (Upper Harbour Drive and Hobsonville Road - redesignated from Riverhead Road further north), 15 km (Motorway section from Albany Highway to Massey, running parallel to the existing state highway, under construction)
  • SH 20 Hillsborough to SH 1 Manukau interchange (Southwestern Motorway), approx 20 km. Will eventually bypass Manukau city centre and link to Northwestern Motorway (projected completion 2012)
  • SH 20A SH 20 south of Walmsley Road interchange to Auckland International Airport, 8 km
  • SH 20B SH 20 at Puhinui Road interchange to Auckland International Airport, 3 km
  • SH 21 SH 1 5 km south of Hamilton to SH 3 5 km south of Hamilton, via Hamilton Airport and Mystery Creek, 4 km
  • SH 22 SH 1 at Drury to Pukekohe (the continuation south to SH 23 near Raglan has had its State Highway designation removed)
  • SH 23 SH 1 at Hamilton to Raglan, 48 km
  • SH 24 Matamata to SH 29 near Te Poi, 12 km
  • SH 25 SH 2 3 km north of Mangatarata to Waihi, via Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga and Whangamata, 240 km
  • SH 25A SH 25 6 km south of Thames to SH 25 near Pauanui (shortcut across Coromandel Peninsula), 22 km
  • SH 26 SH 25 6 km south of Thames to Hamilton via Paeroa, Te Aroha and Morrinsville, 102 km
  • SH 27 SH 2 to SH 1 at Tirau via Matamata, 98 km
  • SH 28 SH 1 at Putaruru to SH 29 near Te Poi, 21 km
  • SH 29 SH 1 12 km north of Tirau to Mount Maunganui via Tauranga, 69 km
  • SH 30 SH 3 at Te Kuiti to Whakatane via Mangakino and Rotorua, 231 km
  • SH 30A SH 5 to SH 30 in urban Rotorua, 2 km
  • SH 31 SH 3 at Otorohanga to Kawhia, 55 km
  • SH 32 SH 1 at Tokoroa to SH 41 at Kuratau Junction (western side of Lake Taupo), 95 km
  • SH 33 SH 2 9 km south-east of Te Puke to SH 30 at Te Ngae, 28 km
  • SH 34 SH 2 near Edgecumbe to SH 30 via Kawerau, 22 km
  • SH 35 SH 2 at Opotiki to Gisborne, via East Cape, 321 km
  • SH 36 SH 5 at Rotorua to SH 2 at Tauranga, via Tauranga Direct Road (new designation, December 2004)
  • SH 37 SH 3 at Hangatiki to Waitomo Caves, 8 km
  • SH 38 SH 5 near Waiotapu to SH 2 at Wairoa via Te Urewera National Park and Lake Waikaremoana, 180 km (middle section unsealed, and not designated a State Highway)
  • SH 39 SH 1 at Ngaruawahia to SH 3 at Otorohanga. The western bypass of Hamilton, approx 80 km
  • SH 40 SH 3 at Ahititi to SH 4 at Maungatupoto via Ohura, 90 km
  • SH 41 SH 4 at Manunui to SH 1 at Turangi, 59 km
  • SH 43 SH 3 at Stratford to SH 4 at Taumarunui(The Forgotten World Highway), 161 km, approx 40 km unsealed
  • SH 44 SH 3 at New Plymouth to Port Taranaki (new designation, 2004), 4 km
  • SH 45 SH 3 at New Plymouth to SH 3 at Hawera via Opunake (The Surf Highway), 105 km
  • SH 46 SH 47 near Papakai to SH 1 at Rangipo, 19 km
  • SH 47 SH 4 at National Park to SH 41 3 km north of Turangi, 48 km
  • SH 48 SH 47 9 km from National Park to Whakapapa skifield, 7 km
  • SH 49 SH 4 at Tohunga Junction to SH 1 at Waiouru via Ohakune
  • SH 49A SH 49 at Ohakune to SH 4 south of Horopito, 9 km.
  • SH 50 SH 2 at Napier to SH 2 near Takapau (inland route), 73 km
  • SH 52 Formerly SH 2 at Waipukurau to SH 2 Masterton via Pongaroa, 215 km
  • SH 53 SH 2 at Featherston to Martinborough, 18 km (This breaks markedly with the general north-south pattern of the numbering, being some 200 km south of SH 54 and having the southernmost endpoints of North Island State Highways other than SH 1 and 2)
  • SH 54 SH 1 at Vinegar Hill to SH 3 near Palmerston North via Feilding, 54 km
  • SH 56 Palmerston North to SH 57 at Makerua, 26 km
  • SH 57 SH 3 at the mouth of Manawatu Gorge to SH 1 2 km south of Levin, via Shannon, 67 km
  • SH 57A Formerly part of SH 57 from SH 3 at the west end the of Manawatu Gorge to Palmerston North, 17 km
  • SH 58 SH 1 at Porirua to SH 2 at Haywards, 15 km

South Island

See also

External links


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