Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth


The Pūhoi to Warkworth project extended the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill Tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It is the first stage of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford project and was officially opened on June 16, 2023.

Ara Tūhono means a connecting pathway (Ara meaning pathway/passage and Ara Tūhono means connecting or linking one part to another).

The highway was built to the west of the old SH1 and bypasses Warkworth on the western side. It is a four-lane dual carriageway, separated by a central median with a safety barrier.

Key benefits of the new route include improved safety and connectivity, more reliable journey times and a better freight connection for the Northland region.

This is expected to support economic and population growth. It will also improve connections between the growth areas in the northern Rodney area of Auckland and reduce congestion at Warkworth by providing a bypass for through traffic.

Time savings are expected to be greater for trucks due to reductions in grades and a better road layout, which helps heavy vehicles maintain a higher average speed along the route.

It’s estimated an average of around 20,000 vehicles a day currently travel on SH1 between Pūhoi and Warkworth. Within the next ten years it is predicted traffic will increase to more than 31,000 vehicles a day, shared between the new motorway and the current SH1.

P2Wk Route Map

The Pūhoi to Warkworth project is a PPP (Public Private Partnership) between the Government and a private consortium, the Northern Express Group (NX2).

A PPP is a long-term contract between the public and private sectors covering the financing, construction and operation of public infrastructure, such as a major road or services.

PPPs allow large and complex projects to benefit from private sector innovation and funding which can increase certainty of delivery and give better value for money. There are also savings to be had on all aspects of the project – design, build, maintenance and operational management.

Pūhoi to Warkworth will be an ‘availability’ PPP. This means that payments are not linked to traffic volumes. This means that the PPP consortium will be paid for making a safe road open and available to traffic.

While the NX2 private-sector consortium will be responsible for financing, designing, building, maintaining and operating the motorway for up to 25 years, the motorway will remain a public asset.


Take a look at our final flyover from June 2023 (on the right) compared side-by-side with our very first flyover from September 2017.

You can find all flyover videos throughout the life of the project here.

For more information

You can read more about Ara Tūhono -Pūhoi to Warkworth project on the Waka Kotahi website at Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (

 For travel planning, please visit the Journey Planner at Journey planner | Waka Kotahi Journey Planner (

 If your question is not answered here, please call 0800 4 Highways (0800 44 44 49).