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Project introduction

The south is the largest future growth area in Auckland, with around 5000 hectares of land identified for urban development. SH1 improvements from Papakura to Drury South are a priority with construction to start in 2021. Improvements from Drury South to Bombay are funded for route protection only.

June 2021 update

The Government has made decisions on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme that confirm full delivery of stage one but change stage two of this project.

Find out more about the latest updates

  • Project type

    Road improvements, Walking & cycling
  • Project status

    Consenting, Design, Construction

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Project updates

We send out regular updates on the SH1 Papakura to Bombay project. If you would like to receive these updates, subscribe using the link to our sign up form below.

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Project overview

The project is part of a longer-term transport network being investigated and delivered to support growth in south Auckland. Auckland is growing, fast and the south is the 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, walking and cycling facilities as well as investigating options for prioritising multiple occupancy vehicles 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 New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP), Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail will begin construction of $2.395 billion of transport improvements for south Auckland within the next three years, including SH1 between Papakura and Drury South, Mill Road, rail electrification to Pukekohe and new rail stations for Drury.

NZUP for Auckland delivers on the Government’s commitment to support the transformation of Auckland’s transport system.

SH1 Papakura to Drury South was announced by the Government in January 2020 to be part of the upgrade programme to facilitate the growth and economic prosperity of the area. This project’s improvements will support the growth of communities by improving access along and across the motorway, enhancing local connectivity and resilience.

Papakura to Drury South highlights

  • 10km of new traffic lanes and bus shoulder lanes in each direction
  • 9km of new walking and cycling paths
  • 100% of highway stormwater treated
  • 20%* increase in people moving through at morning peak
  • 14%* increase in freight moving through at morning peak

*Based on traffic modelling for year 2046.

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Improvements to SH1 from Drury South to Bombay is likely to be built in the longer term, in line with the projections for longer term population growth and the release of land in new growth areas. At this time, we will only be seeking statutory approvals for route protection for this section of the motorway. 

Route protection questions and answers(external link)

What is planned for the project?

Travel on State Highway 1 (SH1) between South Auckland and the city centre will be safer and more reliable for commuters with a range of improvements between Papakura and Drury South to support significant residential and employment growth in South Auckland.

The project will provide better travel options, with new walking and cycling facilities, improved highway access and safety, future-proofing for bus lanes, and allowing for electrification and additional rail capacity.

This project includes:

  • a 9km walking and cycling pathway alongside the northbound side, linking in with the city-wide network being continually developed
  • wide shoulders to future-proof for public transport services
  • an additional third lane in each direction along 10 kms of the existing highway between Papakura and a new interchange at Drury South, which will also connect in with the new Mill Road corridor. This additional third lane is being investigated for dedicated use by high occupancy vehicles and/or freight.
  • interchange improvements at Papakura (including a new southbound on-ramp) and Drury (to allow for electrification of the railway from Papakura to Pukekohe and additional rail line/s)
  • Improved local road connections and community access along and across the motorway.

Project stages

The Papakura to Drury South project will be consented and constructed in phases over the next five years.

Stage 1A for works within the existing motorway boundaries between Papakura and the BP Drury motorway service centre has been consented and construction is expected to start in early 2021.

Other stages will be lodged and consented progressively in 2021/22 subject to confirmation of the final design.

Stage 3 from Drury South to Bombay is not part of the NZ Upgrade Programme. Route protection for the future upgrade of this section will be progressed, although there is no timeframe for implementation. Construction will occur when warranted by future growth.

View larger image [JPG, 537 KB]

Walking and cycling

As part of this project, a walking and cycling path will be built next to the Southern Motorway, alongside the northbound lane. 

It will link to the pathway being constructed as part of the Southern Corridor Improvement 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 extend 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.

Environmental approach

Protecting and enhancing the local environment is a prime consideration in our project planning.

This includes 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 natural environment within the wider project area is diverse; comprising streams, wetlands, estuaries, and native bush.

Human influence is reflected within an extensive agricultural landscape and historic, pā and midden sites.


As part of this project we are looking at opportunities to protect and enhance the local environment.

We are proposing planted drainage channels (swales) alongside the motorway to manage stormwater runoff, helping to keep local waterways clean.

The swales are proposed along the southbound side of SH1 including north of Papakura interchange, between the Papakura interchange and Park Estate Road bridge and along the front of the BP service station.


The project will ensure 100% of stormwater from the highway is treated 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.


A noise assessment has been undertaken for the Papakura to Drury South project by an independent acoustic consultant in accordance with the relevant NZ standard and Waka Kotahi guidelines.

This assessment sets out the recommended noise mitigation to address road traffic noise effects of the project.

Based on these recommendations, Waka Kotahi is planning noise walls on the eastern side of the motorway between Papakura interchange and Park Estate Road bridge. The noise walls are likely to be installed in the early stages of the project starting in 2021. We will be talking to properties along the corridor about the plan for noise walls.

Bridge improvements

Eight bridges are being altered to respond to effects of climate change and flooding, to allow for future electrification of the rail line to Pukekohe and for over-dimension vehicles.

The Park Estate Road and Bremner Road bridges over the highway are being replaced and raised to provide for additional lanes underneath, improved vehicle clearance and walking and cycling paths.

The new Park Estate Road bridge will also provide for new water supply infrastructure and for future improvements.

The design of the new Park Estate Road bridge has been developed in collaboration with Mana Whenua to represent the historical significance of the area for food production and trade with a kono (food basket) weaving pattern.

The Otūwairoa (Slippery Creek) motorway bridges are being replaced and raised to provide for additional motorway lanes, to respond to effects of climate change and improve flood resilience.

The Ngakoroa stream bridge on Bremner Road is also being replaced and raised to respond to effects of climate change.

Drury interchange will effectively be rebuilt and three bridges across the rail line will be replaced and raised to allow for the electrification of the Papakura to Pukekohe rail line and additional rail line/s underneath.

The motorway bridge over Great South Road will be replaced and raised to provide for over-dimension vehicles.

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 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 section of the path being built as part of the SCI project.
  • Contributes to the safety and resilience of Auckland’s transport system.
  • Responds to the effects of climate change by raising bridges across the Southern Motorway to meet 100-year flood predictions.


Project timeline

  • February to April 2016 – Public engagement on the project as part of the Supporting Growth Programme.
  • Late 2016 – Preferred Supporting Growth transport network maps released to public.
  • April to August 2017 – Project planning and options development for the SH1 Papakura to Bombay project.
  • August to September 2017 – ‘Have your say’ consultation period for the SH1 Papakura to Bombay project.
  • Late 2017 to mid-2018 – Papakura to Bombay project Business case is developed and approved by the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Board.
  • September 2018 – The preferred option is shared with the community as part of the overall Supporting Growth Programme’s south area public consultation period. See the Supporting Growth website(external link) for more information.
  • Mid 2019 – Indicative Transport Network for the South published by Supporting Growth. See the Supporting growth website for more information.(external link)
  • June 2019  – Design and consenting phase of project begins.
  • December 2019 – Resource Consent lodged for Stage 1A works within existing designation.
  • January 2020 – Government announces New Zealand Upgrade Programme including SH1 Papakura to Drury South project.
  • June 2020 – Resource Consent granted for Stage 1A works.
  • July 2020 – Process begins to appoint a construction contractor for Stage 1A works.
  • Late 2020 – Community engagement events
  • Early 2021 – Stage 1A construction begins. Consents and Notices of Requirement lodged for Stage 1B.
  • 2021 onwards – Consents and Notices of Requirement progressively lodged for Stages 2 and 3.

Partnership with Mana Whenua

Waka Kotahi is committed to working in partnership with Mana Whenua to deliver the project following the principles of Te Ara Kotahi, Waka Kotahi’s strategy for partnering with Maori including recognising and providing for cultural heritage, identity and Mātauranga Māori.

Building on collaboration with mana whenua about the project to date, Waka Kotahi will continue to partner with Mana Whenua as the project progresses.

Working with partners, stakeholders and the community

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is dedicated to working closely with partners, stakeholders and community throughout the design and construction of the Papakura to Drury South project.

Coordination with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport as well as interest and community groups will ensure that the Papakura to Drury South recognises cultural history and utilises local knowledge to help the project team understand the areas we are working in and how best to design for safety and accessibility.

Working with property owners

Waka Kotahi has met 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 to engage with property owners as the project progresses.