Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway, Ara Tūhono finally opens

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 23, 2023

The long-awaited Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway north of Auckland has finally opened, after an 18-month delay.

The $880-million road, built as a partnership between Waka Kotahi and the Northern Express Group, took seven years to complete.

This new 18.5km section of the Northern Motorway has two lanes going each way and a median barrier. It is intended to improve safety for people driving to Whangārei, with a straighter route.

More than 35,000 vehicles are expected to travel the stretch of road every day, including 1300 trucks.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins officially opened the motorway on Friday last week.

“Safe and reliable transport links between Auckland and Northland are essential for commuters and business alike, and this motorway goes a long way to securing that,” Hipkins said.

“The recent extreme weather events have highlighted how fragile the Auckland to Northland transport corridor can be, so this is a major step forward in ensuring a reliable connecting to the North.”


Hipkins said the route is vital for the economy.

“It will provide consistent and reliable travel and better access to markets in Northland and to export ports at Auckland and Tauranga. That’s important for businesses to be able to plan their logistics,” he said.

Upon opening, Waka Kotahi regional manager of maintenance of operations Jacqui Hori-Hoult said she was pleased with how the network was flowing.

“We’re getting great feedback about the positive difference that the new route is having across the network, for both people and freight,” she said.

“With the bulk of journeys being made on State Highway 1, we expect to see ongoing improvements to safety, access and journeys for communities north of Auckland.”

Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan said the construction of the road was a mammoth undertaking.

“More than eight million work hours have been completed so far by 7000 workers, and cuttings as deep as 70 metres made, with over 10 million cubic metres of earth moved. That’s one of the largest amounts of dirt ever shifted during a New Zealand roading project,” Allan said.

Te Honohono ki Tai Road – the Matakana Link Road, linking SH1 and Matakana Road, was also opened.