Public get sneak peek of Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi To Warkworth

acciona, fletcher, new zealand, NX2, puhoi to warkworth,


Over 1300 people gathered at the Warkworth Showgrounds today to celebrate the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth project open day.

The Pūhoi to Warkworth project will extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill Tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It is the first stage of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford project and will open in 2023.

The highway will be built to the west of the existing SH1 and bypass Warkworth on the western side. It will be a four-lane dual carriageway, separated by a central median with a safety barrier.

Key benefits of the new route include improved safety and connectivity, more reliable journey times and a better freight connection for the Northland region.


The day-long event included an exclusive bus tour which traversed the project alignment south to north, allowing locals and visitors to be one of the first to experience the newly constructed four-lane motorway being built alongside State Highway 1.

The day was officially opened with a karakia from project partners Hōkai Nuku before the project team answered questions about the safer, more resilient and reliable route between Pūhoi and Warkworth.

Adults and children alike were blown away to see how much progress had been made and there’s no denying people will have a truly scenic trip when the motorway opens next year.

“It’s great to show progress and bring the community along on the journey. We know everyone is keen to see the road open but there’s still work to do before this can be done safely,” says Brett Gliddon, General Manager Transport Services Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

“The public has seen first-hand today the massive scale of work that has already been completed, however the road needs to be safe and of a high quality before it can be fully open next year.”

“There is still earthworks, surface drainage, planting, kerbing and road surface to be placed. Quality and safety tests must also be completed so that from day one, motorists experience a smooth and safe journey, connecting them seamlessly between Northland, Auckland and the Upper North Island,” says Brett Gliddon.

The intersection for Auckland Transport’s Matakana Link Road is also being constructed as part of the project, which will provide a direct link from SH1 to Matakana Road. This is scheduled to open in tandem with the new motorway next year.

The motorway is being delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Northern Express Group (NX2) consortium is responsible for the financing, design, construction and then maintenance of the motorway for the 25 years that will follow the build.

NX2 is made up of companies with considerable experience in the design, construction, finance, maintenance and management of key infrastructure projects in New Zealand and overseas. NX2’s equity investors are the Accident Compensation Corporation and Public Infrastructure Partners II LP (managed by Morrison & Co PIP Limited), ACCIONA Concesiones and Fletcher Building.

Under the terms of the Public Private Partnership arrangements, road opening can be confirmed once an independent reviewer is satisfied that all contractually agreed safety and quality assurance requirements and tests have been met. Building a road that meets these tests is the responsibility of NX2 and its subcontractor, Fletcher/Acciona joint venture.

The current project cost comprises of three components being $709.5 million (2016 Net Present Value to build, then operate and maintain Pūhoi to Warkworth for 25 years), plus two settlement packages which include $85 million to cover the cost resulting from the COVID-19 shutdown and a further $83 million which was agreed pre COVID-19 to cover some historic claims including extra costs to work at the northern end of the project.  Please click the link here for more information on COVID 19 impact and the new opening date.

Waka Kotahi, NX2 and Fletcher/Acciona are fully committed to working together to complete the project to the required safety and quality assurance standards as soon as possible and look forward to opening the motorway next year.


The building of the motorway involves design and construction of the 18.5km road from Pūhoi to Warkworth, consisting of four lanes from the Johnstone Hills tunnels to the north of Warkworth, which will be the first section of the Ara Tuhono.

  • NX2 proposal complies with NZTA’s design, constructions and operational outcomes

  • Improved safety for the new highway with our new Operating Speed design, which is designed to ensure on average each vehicle is travelling at its maximum performance, exclusive of stops and traffic conditions

  • Predictable journey’s will be established through constructing grade-separated infrastructure, while using SIDRA traffic modelling to determine volume caps for traffic movement using micro simulation

  • The Transport Agency is a primary key Stakeholder, meeting P2Wk’s consenting and regulatory requirements through the Urban and Landscape Design Framework, including the involvement of stakeholders and communities through the Urban Design and Landscape Sector Plan process

  • Optimized pavement through optioneering by minimal expense on maintenance through pavement resurfacing and rehabilitation which will contribute to a high quality asset


  • Enhanced safety and motorway resilience

  • Supports economic and population growth

  • More reliable travel times through the construction of grade-separated infrastructure

  • Improved freight connection for Northland to the Upper North Island freight triangle (Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga)

  • The requirements of the Urban and Landscape Design Framework integrates in the sensitive landscape, minimizing the impact on the Kauri forest alongside its native species of flora and fauna

  • The southern section of heritage significance for Hokai Nuku and this has been considered in the alignment and conception of the Okahu and Pūhoi Viaducts

Source: © Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency 2022 

Source: NX2 Group


Image source: © Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency 2022


^ Back to top