List of motorways and expressways in New Zealand

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This is a list of motorways and expressways in New Zealand, including some proposed and under construction. There are currently 287 km of motorways and expressways in New Zealand, with another 70 km planned for development until 2020.

Expressway begins nz -vector.svg

Expressways in New Zealand are usually dual carriageway roads and may have full or partial control of access. They are generally high standard all-purpose roads that cater mainly for through traffic and do not have any traffic restrictions imposed on them. Intersections may be at-grade or grade separated.[1]

Motorway begins nz -vector.svg

Motorways in New Zealand have certain traffic restrictions applied, to provide a better vehicular traffic operating environment. The traffic operating restrictions normally applied under a motorway designation are no stopping and a ban on all animal, pedestrian and cycle traffic.[1]


Name State Highway(s) Type Length First section opened Notes
Auckland Northern Motorway SH 1 Motorway 39 km (24 mi). 1959
Auckland Southern Motorway SH 1 Motorway 44 km (27 mi) 1953
Waikato Expressway SH 1 Expressway 72 km (45 mi) 1995
Kapiti Expressway SH 1 Expressway 18 km (11 mi) 2007
Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway SH 1 Motorway 11 km (7 mi) 1950
Wellington Urban Motorway SH 1 Motorway 7 km (4 mi) 1969
Christchurch Northern Motorway SH 1 Motorway 10 km (6 mi) 1967
Dunedin Southern Motorway SH 1 Expressway (Kensington–Lookout Point)
Motorway (Lookout Point–Mosgiel)
13 km (8 mi) 1972
Tauranga Eastern Link SH 2 Expressway (Te Maunga–Papamoa)
Motorway (Papamoa–Paengaroa)
23 km (14 mi) 2015
Hutt Expressway SH 2 Expressway 30 km (19 mi) early 1970s
Hawke's Bay Expressway SH 2B; SH 50; SH 50A Expressway 24 km (15 mi) late 1960s
Northwestern Motorway SH 16 Motorway 21 km (13 mi) 1952
Upper Harbour Motorway SH 18 Motorway 12 km (7 mi) 2007
Southwestern Motorway SH 20 Motorway 24 km (15 mi) 1977
Auckland Airport Motorway SH 20A Motorway 2 km (1 mi) 1997
Christchurch Southern Motorway SH 76 Motorway 7 km (4 mi) 1981

Under construction[edit]

Name State Highway(s) Type Length Expected opening Notes
Auckland Airport Motorway (extension to Landing Drive) SH 20A Motorway 2 km (1 mi) 2017 Upgrading on existing section
Waikato Expressway (Longswamp section) SH 1 Expressway 6 km (4 mi) 2018
Christchurch Northern Motorway (Western Belfast bypass) SH 1 Motorway 5 km (3 mi) 2018
Waikato Expressway (Huntly section) SH 1 Expressway 15 km (9 mi) 2019
Waikato Expressway (Hamilton section) SH 1 Expressway 22 km (14 mi) 2020
Kapiti Expressway (extension to Otaki) SH 1 Expressway 13 km (8 mi) 2020
Transmission Gully Motorway SH 1 Motorway 27 km (17 mi) 2020
Christchurch Northern Motorway (extension to Saint Albans) SH 74 Motorway 9 km (6 mi) 2020
Christchurch Southern Motorway (extension to Rolleston) SH 76; SH 1 Motorway (SH 76 section)
Expressway (SH 1 section)
13 km (8 mi) 2020
Auckland Northern Motorway (extension to Warkworth) SH 1 Motorway 19 km (12 mi) 2022


Northern Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

From the Central Motorway Junction in downtown Auckland via the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the North Shore to Puhoi, 38 km (24 mi).

Northwestern Motorway (SH 16)[edit]

From Auckland port to Brigham Creek Rd, Whenuapai, 21 km (13 mi).

Southwestern Motorway (SH 20)[edit]

From the Southern Motorway in Manukau City to Northwestern Motorway, 24 km (15 mi).

Southern Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

From downtown Auckland via Manukau City to the Bombay Hills and the Waikato Expressway, 51 km (32 mi).

Upper Harbour Motorway (SH 18)[edit]

Connecting the Northwestern and Northern Motorways via the Upper Harbour Crossing, 11 km (6.8 mi).


Waikato Expressway (SH 1)[edit]

A half-constructed expressway between the Southern Motorway at Bombay and Cambridge, complete between the Southern Motorway and Longswamp, Rangiriri and Ohinewai. By 2007 SH 1 between Longswamp and Rangiriri was three lanes with a median barrier. In 2012 the Te Rapa Spur was opened, followed by the Ngaruawahia section in 2013. The Cambridge bypass opened on 16 December 2015, six months ahead of schedule. The route has now been fully designated, and funding secured for the Huntly and Hamilton sections. The Huntly and Hamilton sections are currently under construction. Construction of the final section, Longswamp, is scheduled to begin in late 2017.

Bay of Plenty[edit]

Takitimu Drive (Pyes Pa - Mount Maunganui Expressway) (SH 2/SH 29)[edit]

From Pyes Pa to Chapel Street near the city centre. An interchange exists with Tamatea Arikinui Drive, along with a "coat-hanger" interchange, which is used with Elizabeth Street and heads north towards Mt Maunganui. The section from Pyes Pa to the SH 2 interchange is tolled. From 1 August 2015 it was added to the New Zealand state highway network as part of SH 29.[2]

Tamatea Arikinui Drive (Bethlehem - The Avenues Expressway) (SH 2)[edit]

From 15th Avenue to just before Bethlehem Town Centre, with interchanges at Cambridge Road, Waihi Road and Takitimu Drive (Pyes Pa - City Expressway).

Tauranga Eastern Link (SH 2)[edit]

Connects Tauranga to Paengaroa (with SH 33) via Papamoa, bypassing Te Puke. In late 2006 the first phase was opened from Maungatapu to Bayfair. Full motorway was completed in 2015 with the tolled section between Papamoa and Paengaroa opened to the public in August that year.

Hawke's Bay[edit]

Hawke's Bay Expressway (SH 2B/SH 50/SH 50A)[edit]

From Pakipaki (south of Hastings) past Flaxmere, west of Hastings, through Taradale and Napier to Hawke's Bay Airport. It is one lane in each direction, although designed for eventual dual carriageway upgrading, with roundabouts at Prebensen Drive and Taradale Road and interchanges at Kennedy Road (north off, south on) and Meeanee Road (traffic lights for many years and a notorious black spot - has now been replaced with an interchange), traffic lights at Pakowhai Road (southbound and turning traffic only), and roundabouts at Evenden Road, Omahu Road, and Flaxmere Avenue/York Road. The first section (Kennedy Road - Pakowhai Road) opened in the late 1960s, and construction recommenced in the late 1990s (south of Pakowhai Road). For 30 years the partially formed approaches for the Kennedy Road overbridge stood each side of the dual carriageway from Napier to Taradale. In 2002, work began to strengthen the approaches and build the bridge: the expressway opened through to Hawke's Bay Airport late in 2003. The expressway was extended to SH 2 at Pakipaki south of Hastings in 2011.


Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

Approximately 11 km (6.8 mi) in length, this was New Zealand's first motorway. The first section opened in 1950.

Wellington Urban Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

From Ngauranga to Te Aro, 7 km (4.3 mi)

Kapiti Expressway (SH 1)[edit]

The Kapiti Expressway is an under-construction four-lane grade-separated expressway, stretching 33 km (21 mi) from Mackays Crossing north of Paekakariki to just north of Otaki on the Kapiti Coast. When completed, it will bypass the existing two-lane State Highway 1 through Raumati, Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Otaki. The section from Mackays Crossing to south of Raumati was completed in 2007 with the grade separation of the Mackays railway level crossing. Work on the Raumati to Peka Peka section started in December 2013;[3] the expressway mainline opened on 24 February 2017,[4] with finishing works expected to take until mid-2017. The contract for the Peka Peka to Otaki section has been let; construction is due to begin in mid 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020.

Transmission Gully Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

Under construction, from Mackays Crossing near Paraparaumu to the Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway, bypassing Centennial Highway.

Hutt Expressway (Hutt Road, Western Hutt Road, River Road) (SH 2)[edit]

From the Wellington Urban Motorway at Ngauranga through the Hutt Valley to the Fergusson Drive intersection at Maoribank in northern Upper Hutt. It has three names: Hutt Road from Ngauranga to Petone, Western Hutt Road from Petone to Silverstream, and River Road from Silverstream to Maoribank. 30 km (19 mi).

The section south of Melling has two lanes each way and is fully grade separated. The section from Melling north to Silverstream has two lanes each way with at-grade intersections. The section north of Silverstream is a 2+1 road with at grade intersections.


Christchurch Northern Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

From north of Kaiapoi over the Waimakariri River through to the northern suburb of Belfast. Its southernmost interchange (Kainga/Marshland) is unusual in that northbound traffic merges from the right, while southbound traffic is carried on a large loop to the right up and over the onramp. The reason for this design was to accommodate a future southern extension into central Christchurch, with the northbound onramp being the first part of the northbound carriageway. Northbound there are three more interchanges; Tram Road (Oxford), north off, south on; Kaiapoi (diamond interchange); and Lineside Road (SH 71 to Rangiora), north off, south on. It is dual carriageway from Belfast (Main North Road) to Lineside Road, single lane each way with no median strip to Woodend.

Christchurch Southern Motorway (SH 76)[edit]

Short motorway bypassing a part of southern Christchurch city. Lost its status as a motorway after plans to extend the original section (between Curletts Road and Barrington Street, which was built in the early 1980s) stalled. Since 2012, the road has been extended from Curletts Road to Halswell Junction Road with the original section widened to four lanes and interchanges at both Curletts Road and Barrington Street), thereby regaining motorway status.

Christchurch-Lyttelton Expressway (SH 74)[edit]

From the intersection of Ferry and Dyers Roads along Tunnel Road through the Lyttelton Tunnel to the intersection of Norwich Quay and Simeon Quay. It is single lane with interchanges at Bridle Path and Port Hills Road. There is a passing lane southbound from the Port Hills Road interchange.


Former Dunedin Northern Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

This undivided highway had its "motorway" signs removed several years ago, and is now called Dunedin-Waitati Highway.

From Pine Hill to Waitati; the main route north from Dunedin.

Caversham Bypass (SH 1)[edit]

From Dunedin CBD to Caversham, has been widened to four-lane over its full length.[5]

Dunedin Southern Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

From Lookout Point at the southwestern end of Caversham past the outer suburbs of Green Island, Abbotsford and Fairfield to the intersection with SH 87 at Mosgiel. It is one of the southernmost motorways in the world. The length of the motorway is only 13 km.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Manual of Traffic Signs and Markings (MOTSAM) Part 3: Motorways and Expressways, NZ Transport Agency, June 2009
  2. ^ "Tolls and fees". NZTA. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  3. ^ "Work starts on MacKays to Peka Peka expressway". Fairfax New Zealand (via 2 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Traffic finally flows on to $630m Kapiti Expressway as road quietly opens". Stuff. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  5. ^ Oldham, Stu (19 January 2011). "Work starts on multimillion-dollar upgrade". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 15 October 2011.