Two shortlisted route options for Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 6, 2020

The NZ Transport Agency has announced a shortlist of two route options for upgrading the Whangarei to Port Marsden State Highway (SH1), with a preferred route to be confirmed by the end of the year. NZTA is now asking for public feedback on the options presented to feed into decision-making.

The project will provide an upgraded 22km four-lane corridor that will improve transport connections between Auckland and Whangarei. It is part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme‘s $6.8 billion investment to save lives, get regions moving and boost productivity in key growth areas.

“State Highway 1 is a vital link between Northland and the rest of the country for freight, communities and tourism. Around two million tonnes of freight moves between Northland and Auckland each year and tourism in Northland accounts for $1 billion a year. Improving the region‘s freight connections will be a game changer for the wider Northland economy,” says NZTA senior manager project delivery Andrew Thackwray.

Work started on the business case for the project in 2017 and progressed to the point of presenting four shortlisted route options. Work was placed on hold while an independent evaluation ensured the project was aligned with the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport (GPS2018).

The outcome of the 2018 re-evaluation recommended route protection for additional capacity between Whangarei and Port Marsden Highway in the future, although there was no funding at the time to progress the project.

“Earlier this year the government announced the New Zealand Upgrade programme which included $692 million for construction of the Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway, with a separated walking and cycling path. This is great news for the region as it means the project has committed funding and construction can start soon,” says Thackwray.

The two options for consultation are to upgrade the current state highway to four lanes (with some sections built on a new alignment to straighten out curves) or to upgrade the current state highway to four lanes with a section built on a new alignment to the west to avoid the coastal marine environment at Oakleigh.

The NZTA is now seeking public feedback on both the urban section of the project between Tarewa Road and Toetoe Road and the two route options in the rural section between Toetoe Road and Port Marsden Highway.

“The last time we talked to the public about upgrading this section of State Highway 1 was in 2017. At that time, there was strong support for widening the current state highway to four lanes but we need to hear from those new to the project or who didn‘t participate in consultation three years ago. The option including a section built to the west of SH1 is a mixture of two route options shortlisted in 2017, so we‘re also keen to hear our customer‘s thoughts on that.”

The is encouraging communities within the Whangarei district, regional road users and visitors to Northland to share their thoughts online by:

  • visiting the Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway page, or

  • via email at 

Feedback will be open until 23 October 2020.

For more information, visit

The New Zealand Upgrade Programme

Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway project is part of the wider Whangarei to Te Hana programme, aimed at building more resilient transport connections between Northland and Auckland. NZ Upgrade Programme funding is specifically for the Whangarei to Port Marsden Highway section of the Whangarei to Te Hana programme. Further funding will be required to progress the Port Marsden Highway to Te Hana section.

The programme will play a vital role in helping to stimulate the economy and support the country as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19. Five projects worth $2.4b are nearing construction and all 20 projects will be under construction within five years.