Road improvements on State Highway 1 through the Dome Valley will start next year.
The work will include widening the centre line and roadside shoulders, and installing flexible road safety barriers.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) system design manager Brett Gliddon says wide centre lines will reduce the risk of head-on crashes by separating traffic, while safety barriers help catch out of control vehicles before they hit something less forgiving such as another vehicle or trees, poles or ditches.
“We are also making the route safer for cyclists by creating a wide road side shoulder right through the Dome Valley,” he says.
Over the last 11 years, the 15km section of State Highway 1, from Wellsford to north of Warkworth, has claimed 17 lives and another 42 people have been seriously injured.
Drivers losing control and running off the road, or crossing the centre line and hitting an oncoming vehicle, caused most of the crashes.
“More than 10,000 vehicles travel through the Dome Valley every day, and with those numbers increasing, we need to get these improvements underway now to reduce the risk of more people being hurt or killed in a crash.”
Plans for the improvements will be refined over the next few months, based on feedback from local communities, with construction due to start in mid-2018.
The work will include replacing the northbound and southbound passing lanes, near the summit, with wide shoulders to make the approach safer.
Mr Gliddon says the wide shoulder will still allow lighter vehicles to pass safely and will be better suited to cars overtaking slower moving vehicles like trucks and buses.