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Project introduction

The Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project will assess options for improvements to connections between the North Shore, City Centre and beyond.

  • Estimated project cost

    $100 million +
  • Project type

    Study and investigation
  • Project status


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About the project

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council are working in partnership to progress the next phase of planning work on the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project in Auckland. This phase will build on the findings of the 2019/2020 business case, investigate the best way forward in more detail, and consider relevant updates in policies, context, and related projects including Auckland Light Rail.

Auckland Light Rail(external link)

Project need and purpose

There is a long history of planning work for improvements to cross-harbour transport connections, with at least ten major studies progressed over the past 30 years. It’s essential now more than ever that we establish a way forward for future connections and how best to enable the growth of the North Shore.

The growth of Auckland’s North Shore and the wider region is placing increasing pressure on the transport system. This pressure is being particularly experienced on State Highway 1 (SH1) and the Northern Busway with congested journeys and increasing travel times for drivers and passengers. SH1 is a nationally significant corridor, providing access within and from the North Shore and across the Waitematā Harbour to the Auckland isthmus, and acting as the most direct link between Northland, Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. The corridor faces some resilience challenges, and these pressures are forecast to increase further as population and employment continues to grow.

About this business case phase

The upcoming work will build on the findings of the previous business case and will be undertaken through a process called an Indicative Business Case (IBC), which will look at a range of options and recommend a preferred way forward for all transport modes - walking and cycling, rapid transit and road.  The recommendations will include the form, function, route and timing of future cross harbour connections, whilst also looking at existing resilience issues and urban regeneration opportunities.

Project partners will integrate with other workstreams (such as the concurrent Auckland Light Rail) to ensure co-ordination with other city-shaping projects, noting the strong relationship between transport investments and land use activities, which has the potential to influence the outcomes of this project.


This phase of technical work will start in late-2022 and a preferred way forward will be determined in late 2023, with completion of the business case expected in early 2024. This project will be a substantial city-shaping undertaking and comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement is considered critical to its success. Engagement will take place throughout the business case phase, with intensive consultation planned for late 2022 to allow stakeholders and the community the opportunity to provide feedback and help shape the project as it moves forward.

The long-term solutions expected from the upcoming investigations are likely to require significant investment and involve complex, large-scale construction, anticipated to take more than 15 years of design and construction work to complete all elements.

Although the long-term solutions may take some time to deliver, Auckland Transport is already progressing enhancements to the Northern Busway to help keep up with growing bus patronage and ease pressure on the motorway network.

About the current procurement process

Waka Kotahi has released the professional services tender as a first step to getting a team onboard, likely an Alliance delivery model, to carry out the next stage of planning work for the AWHC project.

The procurement process is being coordinated with ALR to give industry suppliers the ability to better plan their resources for the pipeline of infrastructure work that is coming across the country. This follows the Government’s announcement in late January to progress with ALR and bring forward AWHC planning to ensure a fully integrated transport network for Auckland. These mega projects represent a significant investment in a growing Auckland, allowing more transport options and reduced emissions.

Both projects will continue to be delivered separately due to differing components, timeframes and outcomes, however they will work together to ensure a fully integrated transport network is created. It is expected that the successful specialist team for each project will be selected by October, so that work can get underway later in the year.

This follows robust industry engagement earlier this year, reaching out to both the domestic and global market for experience and expertise in large infrastructure projects.

Previous 2019/2020 business case phase

The previous business case in 2019/2020 recommended a programme of investments and this upcoming phase of planning work will build on these findings. Key components of the programme were:

  • Further investigate options to optimise existing infrastructure and delay the need for major investment (eg by influencing growth patterns or using road pricing).
  • Upgrade and enhance the Northern Busway over the next few years to increase its capacity, reliability and overall service quality into the future. A Detailed Business Case further investigating Northern Busway enhancements has been completed by AT and funding for implementation is now being sought.
  • Develop an additional rail-based rapid transit connection for the North Shore (including across the Waitematā Harbour to the city centre), that supplements and integrates with the upgraded Northern Busway and the wider public transport network to provide more public transport travel options.
  • Improve roading connectivity to address resilience issues and growing all-day congestion on the state highway system, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge. 

The previous 2019/2020 business case document is available to view on the Technical reports page