This new transport corridor to the south of Whangārei will save lives and provide a more resilient route to support regional growth.
As part of the wider Whangārei to Te Hana programme, this new corridor supports population, tourism and economic growth in Northland, as well as strengthening the region’s transport links with Auckland.
It is part of a package of works in Northland to provide the strategic link between Auckland and Whangārei. This includes the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford project, which is already under construction; the second section of this project, from Warkworth to Wellsford, that is currently going through the consenting phase; and the improvements at the State Highway 1 (SH1) and Loop Road intersection which includes a short section of four-laning as an early deliverable for the new highway. Together, these projects will improve safety, build greater resilience into the transport system and improve access into Northland.
The NZ Upgrade Programme will see $692 million spent on a new 22km four-lane corridor from Whangārei to Port Marsden, with a separated shared walking and cycling path.
More than 100 people have died or been seriously injured during the last five years on SH1 between Whangārei and Te Hana, the worst section being between Whangārei and the Port Marsden turn-off. The majority of these crashes involved drivers crossing the centreline and colliding with oncoming traffic.
Safety improvements planned for this section of SH1 under the Safe Network Programme will still be required, with the existing corridor continuing to be an integral part of Northland’s transport system.
Northland’s population grew faster than any other region, by 27,000 or 18%, as a result of growth overflow from Auckland. Tourism and freight are key drivers for economic growth in the region, tourism contributing about $1 billion annually and 2 million tonnes of freight being moved between Northland and Auckland.
Road closures as a result of crashes have impacted on Northland’s economic growth, as many detour routes are unsuitable for freight vehicles.
The new corridor will provide for safer, easier and more reliable journeys for everyone. To support growth south of Whangārei and provide greater choice in the way people move, we will investigate using two lanes along sections of the new corridor to prioritise public transport, vehicles carrying multiple people and/or freight.