First stage of Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Project


The Pūhoi to Warkworth project will extend 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.

The motorway is expected to open in May 2022. The motorway was scheduled to open at the end of 2021, but the COVID -19 Alert Level  4 lockdown in April 2020 meant nearly five weeks of the earthmoving season was lost. The resumption of work under Alert Level 3 with strict health and safety protocols also impacted the works programme. The new safer, more resilient route between Pūhoi and Warkworth is now expected to be opened to motorists in time for the busy Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2022.

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

The highway will be built to the west of the existing SH1 and bypass Warkworth on the western side. It will be a four-lane dual carriageway, separated by a central median with a safety barrier.

P2Wk Route Map

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

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.