Holiday Highway Route Announced


NZTA this afternoon announced details of the planned new 18 kilometre - long four-lane highway between Puhoi, at the end of the Northern Gateway Toll Road, and Warkworth.

60 properties will be affected.

The 2009 cost for it was $1.3b. Today, transport minister Steven Joyce said it wasn’t an issue of the cost (even that it is THE issue why we don’t have a CBD loop yet).

“The challenge for this project is not so much the funding but getting the design, consultation and consenting processes all done from a standing start.”

This is the first of two stages of the road which will eventually go all the way to Wellsford in the north.

The route runs west of the existing State Highway 1 to just north of Warkworth near Kaipara Flats Road.

The NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town, says while work can now be advanced between Puhoi and Warkworth, there are a number of geological challenges with unstable ground around the Dome Valley and Wellsford that require further investigation.

“This entire route remains our focus, and we want to develop it as quickly as possible,” says Mr Town. “We are in a position to begin consultation from Puhoi to Warkworth, and more detailed investigations will be carried out before a solution is produced for the section of the proposed highway further north to Wellsford.”

Consultation with the community is starting with NZTA staff hand-delivering information on the proposal to property owners impacted by the indicative route.

Mr Town said consultation on the indicative route would run until January 28.

On the contentious issue of access points, NZTA acknowledged it had had a lot of feedback on only providing access points to the proposed highway at Warkworth and Wellsford and requests that an access point also be provided for the Puhoi/Mahurangi West area.

It said it was considering this feedback. One of the key considerations was the current and future plans for the Puhoi, Mahurangi West, Ahuroa area so input from the newly formed Auckland Council would help finalise any decision.

NZTA said that it would engage with the council in upcoming months as they develop an Auckland Plan (spatial plan) which will provide guidance and help inform any final decisions on access locations along the new route. “As we are still in the investigation phase there is still plenty of time before a decision is required. The Auckland Council will also be undertaking public consultation as part of the development of the Auckland Plan next year. ”

NZTA said that access to Warkworth has been selected based on public feedback and a range of technical studies. The proposal ensures that the overall objectives of the project are met and that:

  • The access is close to the town centre providing easy use for locals and visitors using the existing SH1.
  • Through traffic is shifted away from Hill Street improving its operation.
  • The proposed access allows for a potential Matakana link road to the eastern beaches, however, this will need to be discussed further with Auckland Council.
  • There is access to the Woodcocks Road industrial and commercial areas via Auckland Council’s planned western collector. This could be enhanced with a potential new link road from the bypass to Hudson Road, however, this will need to be discussed further with Auckland Council.
  • Increases in traffic on Woodcocks Road by the secondary school and on Hill Street by the primary school are avoided.

As part of the existing State Highway 1 Warkworth intersection improvements the NZTA is planning an upgrade of the Hill Street intersection.

NZTA said that this upgrade will ensure that there is a long-term solution that meets both current needs and takes into account the construction of the bypass. This route will continue to manage the traffic through Warkworth and out to the east coast. Once the bypass opens, some minor modifications may be required to help manage changes in direction to the main traffic flows.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said he was pleased NZTA is making good progress on the Puhoi to Wellsford project.

“No work had been done on this project prior to it being confirmed as a road of national significance last year so this is great progress. On our current timetable this will be the fastest ever major highway project completed in this country from start to finish.”

Mr Joyce says at this early stage the first half of the road from Puhoi to Warkworth is on track to be completed within the ten year period but the second half (Warkworth to Wellsford) remains challenging to finish in that time.

“The government has committed nearly $11 billion for new state highway projects over ten years to accelerate development of the network and substantially progress the RoNS programme.

Mr Joyce says, when finished, the new road will bring significant benefits to the Northland and Rodney districts, as well as to Auckland.

“The Puhoi to Wellsford corridor has been identified as one of our most essential state highway routes to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth in our largest city and points North.”

He listed the benefits as being that it would:

  • enhance inter regional and national economic growth and productivity
  • improve movement of freight and people between Auckland and Northland
  • improve the connectivity between key growth areas in the north Rodney area
  • improve reliability of the transport network through a more robust and safer route between Auckland and Northland
  • provide further route security for Northland residents

Full details of NZTA plans and costings

Joyce rejects alternative suggestion




  1. Cam says:

    “The challenge for this project is not so much the funding” - No that does not seem to be a problem at all, this is getting funding regardless of it’s flimsy business case.

  2. karl says:

    Indeed Cam. It’s a disgrace - every fiddly little local road project has to show it stacks up against NZTA’s holy grail of BCR calculations.

    But come a 2 billion road out of nowhere, funding is no problem, and benefit cost ratio calculations get thrown out of the window (I mean “adapted to the local circumstances”).

  3. Patrick R says:

    Angry and sad. Its as if he knows the time for building these sorts of monuments to oil waste and sprawl are fast running out so he has to commit us to it real fast…. Why isn’t the funding a problem? It should be, this project should go head to head with every other one on the same terms for evaluation…. is that why we can’t see the cost benefit analysis for the CBD rail line, because it would so shame this profligate waste? Who have you promised this project to Mr Joyce? Stinks rotten.

  4. BD says:

    That stephen Joyce is an idiot, we need to vote national out pure and simple this is the only way the project will not get built.

  5. BD says:

    That stephen Joyce is an idiot, we need to vote national out pure and simple this is the only way the project will not get built.

    I am terribly outrage with this useless national government its clear that they don’t listern to the people and just do what ever they please. Even if it mean wasting billions of dollars of our hard earned cash on an expensive piece of tarmac, useless idiots. This project should be called Holiday Highway, and I for one and I hope the people around us will not let this thing happen!. They said they want it might quickly as possible yeah like 10 years thats another life time anything could happen, more people will die, even when the project is finished the existing highway will still be dangerious and they can only provide so much access on the highway. I have one word to say.


  6. travis says:

    BD, Mate, Voting in the alternative wont do F%#$ all either. They had 9 years to do something as well even when the times were prosperous, but did nothing. IMHO it would be status quo if labour were in power. I think that if people continue to back Len that eventually someone in Central Gov will be forced to accept that I will need to be done. I pray that the forth coming business case is conclusive.

    It looks unlikely that this highway will be stopped. I do agree that it is a rubbish piece of road, but otherthings should surely take precidence.

  7. Brent C says:

    There is no doubt that there is something about this project that we all don’t know yet. Some kind of political motive or payout.

  8. Rene says:

    Those of you who think the locals will somehow conspire to put a stop to this development need to think again. This road will significantly improve land values in and around the Mahurangi district at a time when medium term outlooks for property value growth look stagnant at best.

    This whole area will continue to develop as a defacto retirement home to aging Aucklanders. As such the infrastructure required to support its growth needs to be installed sooner rather than later before the cost of building the road escalates further. Developers and land owners in the area have been itching for this road to be built ever since the toll road was completed. There is also a long term benefit to the Northland economy from this road that should not be overlooked on the basis of this being within the Auckland metropolitan limits.

  9. BD says:

    I think you are wrong Rene.

    Usually when economic development like this occur are not usually done for the good of the country but are done in a way that makes our future more dependant on cars and less dependant on public transport. For some reason I have a gut feeling that the new Auckland Council is not going to be transparant, as the government is ignoring its own advice about Holiday Highway. Even St Lukes expansion seems to fall to death ears and I think the new council is making it harder for local people to voice their concerns about particular growth projects.

  10. Chris says:

    National is a great government. At least they don’t introduce stupid laws like Labour.

    When will the first stage from Puhoi to Warkworth be finished? And how much time is the new route supposed to cut as opposed to the current road?

  11. Jon C says:

    @Chris Construction not expected to start before 2014

  12. Luke says:

    the silly thing about the proposed route is its difficult to stage the route by building the Warkworth bypass first.
    Will have to build a 1.5km about where Perry Road is.
    Maybe possible for the section up to just before Mahurangi Road to be built as stage 1.

  13. Joust says:

    Let’s hear from some opposition pollys on it “gone by lunchtime” anyone?

  14. Matt L says:

    Chris - The entire route from Puhoi to Wellsford is at best only going to save about 10 minutes which means that this section will only be about a 5 minute saving

  15. Maude says:

    Haha Matakana, now you will be happy eh! with a whole motorway offloading into your precious little town, good luck to you,

  16. Luke says:

    and most of that time saving comes from the warkworth bypass, but as the whole highway must be built for that bypass to come into use, no benefit will be seen for over 10 years. If instead we built the bypass now for $100 million or so that would solve many of the problems.

  17. Maude says:

    This is going to be great, a whole motorway offloading into Matakana Coast, just what we all want, cant wait, but then I dont live there, haha.

  18. Maude says:

    This motorway cant happen soon enough

  19. BD says:

    I agree Maude

    We should build the bypass for Warkworth now, instead of building a stupid 4 lane motorway to nowhere, but the National Government won’t do that, they seem to think that we need to build a 4 lane motorway, to make us even more car dependant than they really are.

    This is a load of rubbish sort the motorway projects first then watch public transport suffer to a point where we can no longer use it anyways.

    Yeah Stephen Joyce would be please that his pet project is finally becoming a reality, I don’t think many of the people on AKT, Auckland Transport Blog, The Greens, etc and myself are please. I bet there are many other people that wouldn’t be please either!

  20. Maude says:

    Actually BD it wont be a road to no where, it will go north, to rural towns with country people that have been left out of the great equation for so long some of the people might finally get a slice of the pie the rest of Auckland has been dining on for years

  21. Matt L says:

    Those are some huge cuttings and viaducts that will be needed if this video is any indication. The other thing I find odd is the that from Perry Rd why keep going north so far forcing cars back east for a couple of km’s, the cynic in me thinks that this is to leave enough quite a bit of room that the council will then be encouraged to rezone for development. Also long term we are likely to see Warkworth sprawl north towards where the interchange will be as that will be the best place to attract customers to.

    Also Maude - People in those towns generally live there because they don’t want to be in the city, we all know that the only reason this is happening is because the minister lives in the area. There are far more important things we could be spending money on than this road, there are even other roads that have better returns than this one but because they are generally small one off projects they don’t give the government the ‘prestige’ that this one does.

  22. Katy says:

    Maude, keep in mind it’s only a 38 km road. It wont make any difference to the rest of the road network in Northland, a lot of which are not even sealed.

  23. Mike says:

    It makes me laugh everyone calling this the holiday highway. What’s the rail link to the airport ? The holiday line ?

  24. DanC says:

    In the year 2010 the NZ government wants to build a further motorway costing 2 billion. What they are against building is a 2 billion dollar CBD rail loop allowing more train frequencies and bringing how many people with in half an hour of the city? It is such backward thinking that will hold the country back with people sitting in traffic un-productive & polluting. BAD NZ GOVT JUST PLAIN BAD.

  25. Matt L says:

    Mike the airport line would also have stations in in places like Mangere Bridge and Mangere Town Centre which would benefit everyday Aucklanders. In fact I personally think that we should just focus on extending the Onehunga line to those places first and leave the Airport connection for further in the future.

  26. Jon C says:

    @Mike I like it. I think I might adopt it!

  27. karl says:

    “It looks unlikely that this highway will be stopped.”

    I disagree - notice the 10 year timeframe. This can be stopped several times over.

    Sure, by the time National gets kicked out in 2011 or 2014, we will have wasted hundreds of millions on design and initial works. But I am giving this no better than 50% chance of ever happening. Joyce is pushing this up a hill which is only getting steeper.

  28. Geoff B says:

    National’s plan appears to be to get SH1 up to speed, put all the freight on it, close the NAL, and can the Marsden Point Branch proposal.

  29. DanC says:

    Another point to consider is more land being tarmacked over….

  30. Rene says:


    this is not a PT issue. This is a regional development issue. People simply wont catch PT from Snells Beach, Sandspit, Matakana etc to get to work in Albany etc. Besides I’d be suprised if there were large numbers of people that work outside of the immediate area.

    With Port sof Auckland having a natural limit in the future the governemnt needs to think about the development of Whangarei and Marsden Point for future growth. I think a suitable mix of road and rail will be required to service the Auckland region from here. Rail alone is too risky.

    The crux is that at some point this road will need to be built. I agree a CBD rail loop is a priority too but people are quick to assume its one or the other just because there are in the same region. If its not built now it will need to be built in 10 years time when it becomes more expensive and more disruptive to a larger local population.

    Not to mention the terrible safety record this road has and this should be addressed also. (although I have read some sound proposals that can improve the safety of the exisiting road without building a completely new road but does not increase capacity).

    The governemnt has a range of objectives it needs to achieve and the rail loop and the national highway infrastructure rollout are entirely seperate issues. Why not complain that the Transmission Gully project is wasting money for the rail loop? How about kicking off those people bludging on the dole? That money could be spent of a rail loop as well.

    Cars are not going to disappear and be replaced by buses and bikes north of Orwea. Dont shoot the messenger. Its just the facts.

  31. Cam says:

    “Actually BD it wont be a road to no where, it will go north, to rural towns with country people that have been left out of the great equation for so long some of the people might finally get a slice of the pie the rest of Auckland has been dining on for years”

    Because currently those people are trapped up there and can’t drive anywhere right? The only solution is to spend 2 billion dollars building a motorway to serve a population of a few thousand

  32. Tarri says:

    Unfortanately, as much as I would love to, I would love to take a passenger train from Dargaville to Auckland, Tauranga, etc. But that does not happen here.
    The only way to get anywhere is by road, and unfortunately the sad truth is the road is becoming busier all the time.
    In fact, I tend to find (regardless of it being holidays or not) that traffic is a pain from around Kaiwaka.
    Sure, it’s not always full-on traffic, but there are alot of hold-ups, and not enough passing lanes.
    Even if the number of passing lanes were to be increased, you probably nearly might as well go with four lanes, at least the further south you go.
    Another thing is various parts of the current highway, given it is the main arterial route, are pretty dangerous, especially for large freight movers, in my opinion.

    I’m all up for upgrades to the existing highway, if it works out to be a better option. But if there are too many adjustments needed, then the cost of building a newer highway might be better off, given the enormus disruption I’d imagine would occur on the existing State Highway 1 - it would slow progress (given alot of traffic would still need to use it) and cause even more conjestion for years to come, wouldn’t it?
    I mean I’m not an expert at this, but shouldn’t roads be built to withstand maximum capacity, rather than averages?
    At the end of the day, anyway, todays averages will be vastly out of date next year, anyway.

    What if they finish the four-lane highway to Warkworth, build a new two-lane highway bypass for Wellsford, in which is built with the capabilities of adding an extra two lanes later, if it is really needed?

    I can tell you another area that really needs a new bypass as well… the Brynderwyn Hills - I am so glad I don’t need to drive that section when I go to Auckland, I can tell you that now..

    All in all, I would guess the NZTA is looking towards the future, rather than averages now. Why else would they throw that kind of money at a project like this, knowing that if it really was a huge waste of money, it would seriously get them into hot water?
    I think there are alot of factors needed to take into account…
    But that’s just my opinion.

  33. Mike says:

    One of the greatest threats imposed on Auckland is that of volcanic activity.I believe we need a decent roading network that could handle a mass evacuation which could be up to a million people.

  34. Matt says:

    Mike, you can move more people by train than you ever could by car. It might not be classy, or comfortable, but it would work.

  35. i live in warkworth and drive to the city everyday and i know we dont need this road it only takes 15 minites to get to Puhoi in my shitty van all we need is better briges and corners with more passing lanes why spend all this money on ripping up our land

  36. Don says:

    A christmas present for the jafas - Oh re-Joyce, re-Joyce, re-Joyce. Re-joyce in the name of political expediency.

  37. antz says:



  38. Tarri says:

    I seriously don’t think they would just built a motorway/expressway extention though without proper investigation.

    Despite what traffic is like now, you’d have to put that behind because it would be irrelevant - it would take over a decade to get the whole thing done, and the traffic volume will not be the same as today’s.
    And if it is waited until there are major problems, it would be another decade at least before it is addressed.
    They would have to be basing this on future projections, and being logical here, traffic flow will increase.
    If that wasn’t the case, Auckland wouldn’t need a motorway going through the city to begin with, would it?

  39. Don says:


    Simple question - what will all that increase in traffic in the future projections be fueled by? Other projections suggest a few problems on the horizon:

    “Auckland academic, Dr Wayne Cartwright, said Sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand (SANZ) agreed the risks outlined in The Next Oil Shock, a research paper by Parliamentary Library economics and industry research analyst Clint Smith “is sound and provides very valuable future insight”.”

    A trebling of fuel prices (to the level I experience where I presently live) are highly likely to reduce traffic volumes and make these new highways quite superfluous. Think 1900 - think rail, think sail.

    (Interesting trivia - Dr Cartwright also obtained his first degree at Massey - however, he appears to have gained a better understanding of reality than that other Massey graduate who is currently making these bizarre motorway decisions.)

  40. Tarri says:


    I am well aware of the uprising fuel price, but that’s only because of fossil fuels, which I know will become so scarce that oil prices will make travel by fossil-fuel driven cars (as well as all other Dinosaur Technology, as I like to call it), to a point where it is just not feasable.
    But that is where alternative fuel comes in, such as electricity and hydrogen cells.
    No offense, your point is totally spot-on, but that is not going to force people from privatised motor vehicles when electric and hydrogen cars are right there in our faces.

    As much as I would love to have rail (I really would, seriously) it would probably only be practical by extending railway lines and building hundreds more branches to service everyone…
    Somehow, I don’t thing the world will immediately ditch newer technology for trains, sad as it is.

    …although is there some way we could force a mass extension and construction of modernised rail all over NZ?
    Because this sysem sure ain’t doing a swell job..

  41. Nick R says:

    There is, an oil price shock. Long before the oil runs out it will get very expensive. The thing about hydrogen and electic storage systems is that they are currently ludicrously expensive, and they won’t come down in price until after oil prices skyrocket and make investment and development in these technologies really profitable.
    It might take fifteen or twenty years to reconfigure NZ’s vehicle fleet to non-oil sources, in the mean time there will be few options but to shell out $6-$8 a litre for petrol.
    After a few years of that people will be rioting in the street to get some new rail lines, and exporters will be quickly shifting their freight away from trucks.

  42. Don says:


    If only… - but is oil/coal fired electricity to run electric cars somehow going to be cheaper? Maybe if Comalco is closed down the South Island could have electric cars, but in Auckland?

    Show me a hydrogen cell vehicle on your block, or one that is close to widespread use anywhere. Our economy will be in such a bad state by the time they are practical that the average Kiwi won’t be buying them. There are unlikely to be cheap 2nd hand imports from Japan either as battery replacement will be the cost killer.

    I have spent a fair bit of my life working in societies where having a car is not the norm and it is ok. But we have just blindly created a society where it is damn had to survive without one, and we will just have to back-up to a more survivable dream. (Read Rod Oram’s article in the Sunday Star Times - Sunday 21st.)

    The REAL old dinosaur technologies may be the only ones around if we don’t upgrade the rail system now.

    That guy in Star Trek may have been right - “it’s life, but not as we knew it”

  43. Tarri says:


    I should probably point out that I refer to fossil-fuel-driven technology as “Dinosaur Technology”, not the fact it’s just old.. ^^;;

    Never said there were hydrogen cell vehicles and stuff.. and I am not sure how long before the technology becomes average-joe priced.
    But it’s a likelyhood that that sort of tech will be the next thing.

    If it were up to me, I’d build a nice modern monorail system linking the main centres, with other links to the smaller satellite towns and villages.
    And if the system is high-speed, you could have a main trunk line visiting many more communities because there wouldn’t be much time lost due to travel time being quick.
    Getting to the transport system though would need to be explored and solved… that is, if you live a good distance away from it.
    (I mean hey, if you live a kilometre from it, it’s an easy walk!) ^^;;

    I’d push for that option if they made it available.

  44. Don says:

    Parts of Bangkok have a very efficient overhead “Skytrain” which connects to the “Metro” subway rail system as well. It may be ugly but it doesn’t clash too much with other aspects of that city. The buses are fairly good too and the river boats are well patronised. Cycling is not an option there and even walking can be hazardous but public transport does work and has for the 40 years I have known it.

    With less car traffic on the roads, bicycles and small motorbikes (electric?) could be suitable for the short trips to the public transport network - or even have a shuttle bus system as operates in Port Vila.

    Hanoi has a very efficient but risky motorcycle taxi system - and that traffic has to be seen to be believed. The motorbikes are very polluting but if electrified that could be one answer. Too radical?

    Beggars can’t be choosers and we need to accept that we simply cannot continue this developed world illusion. I remember hearing Prof. John Roberts speaking on NZ’s economic future in about 1974, and him saying that after the preferential trade deal we had with the UK had ended, he could see no reason why NZ should be better off than Thailand. As I had just returned from working there his comments hit home - he was dead right.

    Take heart - we can make things work in NZ. but not by wingeing or borrowing and trying to live beyond our means.

  45. antz says:


    I have heard Manila is replace some of thier famous bus/trucks with a modern electrified version, right now it is proving very popular with the locals as they are very quiet and has little vibrations from the engines.

  46. karl says:

    The battery problem is indeed the main issue of ever getting electric cars on the road in large amounts - batteries are expensive NOW. Just think of the added price pressures when all the world is trying to build them - today’s high-quality batteries are made out of very expensive, scarce raw materials. So while eventually, some bright spark will figure out a cheaper way to store electricity, there’s no certainty it will happen without a delay of 10-20 years before it happens and the alternatives become widespread.

    Too bad electric bikes will be out in this scenario, for the same battery reasons - they are JUST the thing to overcome the hills.

    I am not too doomy for NZ in this likely scenario that will occur (I put it at least 50% that we will have a multi-year crisis, maybe 25% for a multi-decade crisis). But in some way, major shocks stimulate activity. Cities leveled by earthquakes-scenario, and so on… We will be so deep in shit with our car-centric culture that we will have to just be particularly great in fixing it on the fly. That’s a challenge I could even enjoy.


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