Key design features


The motorway is designed to international standards to be one of the safest roads in New Zealand. The philosophy behind the design is to keep traffic at a constant speed rather than having vehicles speeding up and slowing down over different parts of the motorway. The absence of long straights and wide curves is designed to discourage drivers from reaching high speeds.

At Moir Hill, an extra lane for slow vehicles has been provided to the left of the two normal lanes, allowing for traffic to pass safely. Design features force traffic to slow at the northern end of the motorway as vehicles head northbound into the slower-speed environments of Warkworth and the existing State Highway network.

The introduction of wire rope barriers to prevent head-on collisions, fully-sealed medians and shoulders, emergency truck stopping areas and rock fall mesh barriers have all been designed and installed to help protect road users and maintenance workers.

A high-tech porous surface has been applied to deal better with surface water and prevent aquaplaning.

All safety measures developed have been assessed against the Transport Agency’s Safer Journeys and Safe System approach.


People using the motorway will have a truly scenic trip. Going through cut slopes of Pakiri sedimentary rock up to 50 metres high gives drivers a sense of penetrating through the rock face. The steep cuts are also environmentally-friendly. The existing vegetation on the top of the hill is retained. The design of the motorway as a whole minimises the loss of existing vegetation.

The motorway is curvilinear (following a curved pathway) without long straights. It will follow the natural contours of the land as much as possible. This adds to the scenic drive with views over the landscape in places and in other sections the road will go through forested areas rather than being above the tree canopy. Low plantings on the sides of the roads enhance the scenic view.

The curved motorway and the flexibility to position the road within the designation (all the land required for the motorway and its construction) allowed us to minimise impacts on ecologically-sensitive areas.

Lighting has been kept to a minimum to prevent “light pollution” at night, in keeping with a rural landscape.