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Auckland is growing fast, and the south is the region’s largest future urban growth area. About 1.7 million people live in Auckland and over the next 30 years this could grow to reach 2.4 million.
Over the next 30 years, southern growth areas such as Pukekohe, Drury, Paerata, and Takanini, could provide up to 40,000 new homes, as well as new jobs. These improvements will provide better choices for existing communities and the extra 120,000 people who will make the area home.
Investing in public transport and walking and cycling path, in addition to roading improvements, plays an important part in building a strategic transport network which meets the needs of the people who live, work and travel in the area.
Through the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP), Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) and KiwiRail have begun construction of around $2.7 billion of transport improvements for south Auckland within the next three years. This includes SH1 between Papakura and Drury, rail electrification to Pukekohe and three new rail stations between Drury and Paerata.
NZUP for Auckland delivers on the Government’s commitment to support the transformation of Auckland’s transport system.
The SH1 Papakura to Drury project’s improvements will support the growth of communities by improving access along and across the motorway, enhancing local connectivity and resilience, and improving transport choices.
What benefits will this project provide?
- Supports investment in road and rail in South Auckland including the electrification of rail to Pukekohe and future-proofing for additional lines.
- Reinforces the Southern Motorway’s function to support national and regional economic growth.
- Supports the growth and liveability of communities by increasing access to employment, markets, services and amenities.
- Provides an additional traffic lane in each direction, interchange improvements and opportunities for dedicated public transport services.
- Promotes walking and cycling in South Auckland and enables people already using active modes to access new areas.
- Extends the Auckland walking and cycling network, maximising the investment in the Southern Path built to the immediate north of the project area as part of the Southern Corridor Improvements project.
- Contributes to the safety and resilience of Auckland’s transport system.
- Creates infrastructure that improves the Southern Motorway’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.
Papakura to Drury key features
- Improved highway access, safety, resilience and capacity on SH1 between Papakura and Drury, including 4.5km of new traffic lanes in each direction.
- Wide shoulders to enable future bus services.
- 4km of new paths for people walking and cycling, extending the 4.5km Southern Path between Papakura and Takanini (opened in May 2021).
- Interchange improvements at Papakura, including a new southbound on-ramp and northbound ramp improvements.
- Interchange improvements at Drury, enabling rail electrification, future-proofing for additional rail lines, and improved access for over-dimension vehicles.
- Improved safety barriers, lighting and noise mitigation.
- 100% stormwater treatment of new and existing Southern Motorway impervious surfaces within the project area (where currently there is none).
Stage 1 (includes 1A, 1B1 and 1B2)
The Papakura to Drury section (Stage 1) of the wider Papakura to Bombay project is being consented and constructed in stages over the next five years under the NZ Upgrade Programme.
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Construction began on Stage 1A (green) in April 2021. This stage is contained predominantly within the existing motorway designation and was consented in 2020. It comprises upgrades to the motorway, while the additional land required for the shared path component of the project is secured through Stages 1B1 and 1B2.
Notices of Requirement and resource consent applications were approved for Stage 1B1 (orange) of the project in November 2021. These were approved under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 as the project is one of 17 projects listed under the Act.
The approval of Stage 1B1 consents paved the way for early works near the rail line beside Drury Interchange to start in February 2022. Early works focus on building new/replacement bridges over the rail line at the interchange, which will enable the NZUP project to electrify the rail line between Papakura and Pukekohe. Construction of the main Drury interchange upgrade is expected to commence in mid-late 2023.
Waka Kotahi recently lodged Notices of Requirement and resource consent applications for Stage 1B2 of the project (grey) in October 2022. Stage 1B2 was separated out from Stage 1B1 to allow appropriate time and consideration of the project’s impact on Oopaheke, an identified site of cultural significance spanning both sides of the motorway at Otuuwairoa / Slippery Creek.
The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act provides a new decision-making process. You can find information about the fast-track consenting process and our consent application on the Environmental Protection Authority website.
Status of fast-track projects(external link)
Stages 2 and 3
Waka Kotahi has confirmed funding to proceed with route protection for Stages 2 and 3 of the wider Papakura ki Pukekura – Papakura to Bombay project. Waka Kotahi is currently progressing the preliminary design for these stages with the intent of its lodging Notices of Requirement in 2023.
Route protection questions and answers(external link)
Drury Interchange improvements to be delivered by the project (view looking south) are:
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Papakura Interchange improvements to be delivered by the project (view looking south) are:
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Walking and cycling
As part of the Papakura to Drury project, a walking and cycling path will be built next to the Southern Motorway, alongside the northbound lane.
It will extend the Southern Path opened in May 2021 as part of the Southern Corridor Improvements project and provide a new and alternative transport choice in this growing area.
As well as connections at interchanges, there will be connections to local roads along the route and to local cycling paths. This will help expand the Auckland cycle network.
The walking and cycling path will improve access to schools, work, local community destinations and the wider transport system.
This will help deliver safer and healthier streets for Aucklanders, supporting the development of more liveable communities.
The growth of housing in large parts of South Auckland means there is an increasing need to provide safe and affordable access to schools and employment areas, and transport alternatives to the use of private motor vehicles.
Protecting and enhancing the local environment is a prime consideration in our project planning.
This includes protecting and enhancing areas of environmental and heritage significance, areas and places that are important to the community, and areas that will become more urbanised in the future.
The project will ensure 100% treatment of stormwater from new and existing impervious surfaces within the project area to improve local water quality.
Flooding to the east of SH1 along Chichester Drive has been identified through consultation with Auckland Council. This flooding will be alleviated by replacing culvert pipes crossing under the motorway with larger sized ones, allowing more water to flow through.
The project is required to complete and maintain Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) certification. The ISC system is an international sustainability rating tool that is designed to drive good sustainability outcomes. It will help ensure the project team remains focussed on reducing greenhouse gas emissions during both the detailed design and construction phases.
The project supports New Zealand’s efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a low-emissions economy by:
- unlocking opportunities for passenger rail electrification and replacing road-over-rail bridges to future-proof for additional rail lines.
- providing new walking and cycling infrastructure to unlock alternative transport mode choices and improve connectivity and accessibility for local communities.
- future-proofing for the provision of public transport by introducing wide shoulders on SH1.
Working with partners, stakeholders and the community
Waka Kotahi is dedicated to working closely with partners, stakeholders, and the community throughout design and construction on the Papakura to Drury project, and on the design of the wider Papakura ki Pukekura – Papakura to Bombay project.
Coordination with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, as well as interest groups and community groups, will ensure that the project recognises cultural history and utilises local knowledge to help the project team understand the areas it is working in and how best to design for safety and accessibility.
Working with property owners
Waka Kotahi meets with potentially affected property owners to understand how they use their land and how the project design could be refined to reduce the impact on their properties. We will continue our engagement with property owners as the project progresses.