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Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth

Expected to open in 2023, the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway extends the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstone’s Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth.

Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is the first stage of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Road. The new separated motorway will improve safety and journey times, especially during peak holiday periods and weekends. The highway is being built to the west of the existing SH1 and bypasses Warkworth on the western side. It will be a four-lane dual carriageway, separated by a central median with a safety barrier.

The motorway will also provide people travelling through this region with better road resilience and connectivity between Northland and Auckland. It will support greater freight efficiency helping to drive regional economic growth.  This will be achieved through easier freight movements and better access to major markets south of the region and to export ports at Auckland and Tauranga. The tourism sector will also benefit with improved journey times opening access to popular destinations in Northland and the Far North.

Under a PPP contract, the Northern Express Group (NX2) finance, design, construct, manage and maintain the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway for 25 years following the construction period.  After the 25 year period, NX2 will return the highway to the project’s client, Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency. 

The project has two key phases:

  • Design & Construct Phase – Five years with the new motorway opening in 2023. Constructors are Fletcher Construction / Acciona Infrastructure JV.  Higgins was contracted to provide road construction and paving services. 
  • Asset Management & Maintenance Phase – 25 years. Higgins and Acciona (working together as P2W Services) are ready to start the 25-year maintenance contract.  The team is made up of eight full-time people and multiple subcontractors. To prepare, they’ve become the first team in NZ to receive the ISO 55001 Asset Management certification on a road maintenance contract. Taking an active approach to lifecycle asset management, ISO 55001 Asset Management certification helps the team manage the processes and risks in the maintenance of the assets on the motorway.