The installation of fluorescent safety poles on a 10km stretch of State Highway 1 in Northland has been completed.

The yellow poles have sprung up along SH1 from Toetoe Rd, just south of Whangārei, to Springfield Rd, at Oakleigh over the last week.

Contractors have installed hundreds of the poles, that have two reflective strips. NZ Transport Agency Northland system manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said the flexible safety posts were installed at night at 20-metre intervals, along with a half metre wide centreline marked with yellow no passing line on both sides and raised reflectors down the centre.

"These safety improvements are to deter drivers from crossing the centre line, either in error or to overtake other vehicles, and will reduce the chances of serious crashes and make the road more forgiving of human error," Hori-Hoult said.


However, Smeaton's Hill resident Leslie Hodgson said the poles had made leaving her driveway to travel north towards Whangārei dangerous as there was not a big enough gap between them. She was surprised to see the poles "spring up overnight" as there had been no warning or consultation.

"It's fairly dangerous to get out at the best of times but now the ability to merge easily with the traffic has been made much harder. At least one or two of those poles should be taken down."

While it was an inconvenience she hoped the poles would help make the road safer. In the four years-plus she had lived there she has seen plenty of serious and fatal crashes on the hill and nearby stretch of road.

"Anything that can be done to make the road safer is a start."

Hori-Hoult said NZTA had been contacted by Hodgson and her details had been passed to the contractor.

NZTA did not usually consult individual residents when the work involved lane markings and flexible safety posts. The safety work followed road surface upgrades on the section of SH1 over summer.

"Complaints about posts being too close to driveways are treated as a priority so her case will be assessed as soon as possible. The posts should not be installed within 40 metres of a driveway or access point so that vehicles turning on to or off the highway are not impeded," Hori-Hoult said.