Auckland's new Hobsonville Motorway was officially opened six months ahead of schedule by the Prime Minister, John Key.
The $220m NZ Transport Agency project in north-west Auckland completes another section of the Western Ring Route road of national significance, providing a motorway alternative to State Highway 1 and delivering improved transport links between the north, west and south of Auckland and to Auckland International Airport.
At the ribbon cutting celebration, the Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, local iwi and NZTA executives and their contractors.
The NZTA plans to open the Hobsonville motorway to traffic tomorrow (Sunday 7 August) after it has completed final work overnight to get the highway ready. The timing will depend on the weather and its impact on the programme of work.
The NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town, says the Hobsonville Motorway will develop into one of the country’s most important routes when the Western Ring Route is completed.
“The completion of the Hobsonville project is part of a transport solution that provides benefits to New Zealand, the Auckland region, and the communities living close to the motorway,” Mr Town says. “It will help open up access and provide the transport backbone for the developing areas of north-west Auckland, and at the same time improve safety by taking thousands of vehicles off the old state Highway along Hobsonville Road.”
The New motorway has two sections: a six kilometre-long, four lane motorway on SH18 between Upper Harbour Bridge in Greenhithe and the Westgate shopping centre; and a three kilometre-long extension of the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) from Westgate to a new roundabout at Brigham Creek Road.
“By taking traffic off congested Hobsonville Road, the project will reduce travel times by up to six minutes,” Mr Town adds. “This will provide more reliable journey times for commercial drivers moving freight around the region who are increasingly using this route as an alternative to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.”
Mr Town reminded local motorists that the new motorway will not mean an end to all congestion in the area and there will be some queuing during the morning and afternoon peaks.
“We ask everyone to drive with care and patience as they adapt to the new layouts. To minimise any delays we will use ramp signals to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.”
Mr Town thanked the NZTA’s contractors – HEB Construction, designers Aurecon and consultants Opus – for completing the project six months early.
“It’s a great outcome, and very good timing ahead of the next month’s Rugby World Cup in terms of improved links for fans to both Albany Stadium on the North Shore and Eden Park.”
Today's celebration also marks the completion of a successful collaboration between the NZTA, Auckland Council and local Waitakere artists on an arts initiative as part of the design programme for the motorway. New pedestrian and cycle paths have been built at Clarks Lane footbridge, Hobsonville Road Interchange (Westgate) and Squadron Drive. The Squadron Drive cycle path links from the Upper Harbour Bridge right into the new Hobsonville Point housing development. 3,000 houses will be built progressively at the development over the next 10-15 years.
Construction of the last section of the Western Ring Route – the Waterview Connection linking the Northwestern and Southwestern (SH20) motorways is due to start later this year. The work will be followed by further improvements to increase capacity on the Northwestern Motorway between Waterview and Westgate.
Motorway opening information
The NZTA advises drivers to plan to use the new routes: