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.

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
  • a ban on all animal, pedestrian and cycle traffic[1]


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]

Main article: Northwest Motorway

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

Southwestern Motorway (SH 20)[edit]

Main article: Southwestern Motorway

From the Southern Motorway in Manukau City to Maioro Street in Mount Roskill, being extended at the Maioro Street end, 18 km (11 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]

Main article: Waikato Expressway

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. Construction has begun on the Huntly section, construction on the Hamilton section will begin in early 2015.


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. When complete, the Harbour Link project will be a four-lane expressway between Pyes Pa and Mount 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. Tolls for a single one-way trip are:[2]

Vehicle Toll
Cars, motorcycles, light commercial vehicles (≤3.5 tonne) $1.80
Heavy commercial vehicles (>3.5 tonne) $4.80
Caravans/trailers No extra charge

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]

Main article: Tauranga Eastern Link

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 Expressway (SH 2B/SH 50/SH 50A)[edit]

From Flaxmere, west of Hastings, through Taradale and Napier to Hawke's Bay Airport. An extension to the south is planned to rejoin SH 2. It is one lane in each direction, 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. Except for the Tamatea Drive/Taradale Road section (70 km/h), the expressway is 100 km/h. The expressway was completed to SH 2 at Pakipaki south of Hastings in 2011.


Bell Block Bypass[edit]

This expressway which was planned from the 1980s, began construction in December 2006. The expansion of the present three lanes on Mangaone Hill to four will be part of the project. Notorious black spots have existed in and around Bell Block since suburban development began there in the 1970s. Devon Road (SH 3) was reported by Transit New Zealand to carry 29,000 vehicles per day between New Plymouth and Bell Block, and to be the worst road per capita for crashes in the country. The new road will follow Devon Road from Vickers Road (edge of New Plymouth) to Egmont Road up Mangaone Hill, then branch off to the right, by-passing Bell Block to the south. A Seagull intersection will be constructed at Egmont Road, allowing full merge lanes for traffic turning on and off the by-pass, separated by traffic islands. A full diamond interchange will be constructed at Henwood Road, a roundabout at the Nugent Street/Henwood Road/Devon Road intersection, the Paraite Road/Wynyard Street/Devon Road intersection closed (with a new link road), and the by-pass merging back into Devon Road near the Mangati Road intersection.

The Mangati Road intersection has had some safety improvements made, including a long left turn bay being added. When the by-pass is complete right hand turns onto it from Mangati Road will no longer be possible. Right hand turns into Mangati Road from Devon Road will still be permitted.

In August 2008 the Henwood Road overbridge opened, and soon afterwards the intersection of Paraite Road with Devon Road was closed. A new road connecting Henwood Road with Paraite Road was already open.

The bypass opened on 12 March 2010, at 10:30am. The first vehicle to drive through the bypass was a large truck, illustrating the strong part the road transport industry has played in getting the big project under way. At this time, the expressway is planned to take the name of Devon Road, with the present Devon Road (former State Highway 3 through Bell Block) being renamed.[3]

Some work remains to be done on the by-pass e.g. lane marking, finishing the sea-gull intersection at Egmont Road, the small off-ramp into the Ngamotu Golf Course, and completing the realignment at the east end of the by-pass near Mangati Road.


Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

Part as New Zealand's first motorway, opened 1950. Approximately 11 km (6.8 mi).

Wellington Urban Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

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

Kapiti Expressway (SH 1)[edit]

Main article: Kapiti Expressway

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 rail level crossing. Work on the Raumati to Peka Peka section started in December 2013,[4] and is expected to be completed by mid-2017. The Peka Peka to Otaki section has received resource consent.

Transmission Gully Motorway (SH 1)[edit]

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

Hutt Valley Expressway (Hutt Road and Western Hutt Road) (SH 2)[edit]

From the Wellington Urban Motorway at Ngauranga past Lower Hutt, to the seagull intersection at Fergusson Drive and River Road. It has two names: Hutt Road from Ngauranga to the Petone Overbridge, Western Hutt Road from the Petone Overbridge to Fergusson Drive. 20 km (12 mi).

It is two lanes each way, and apart from a small section between the Petone Overbridge and the Petone Railway Station is completely dual carriageway. With the exception of the Petone and Ngauranga Interchanges all intersections are at-grade, with major ones controlled by traffic lights and minor ones controlled by Give Way and Stop signs.

In recent years, works have been started to improve safety along the road. Several minor intersections have been improved to prevent traffic turning right into or out of the minor roads. The section between the Petone and Normandale Overbridges is currently being improved by the Dowse to Petone project, which will eliminate three sets of traffic lights and replace them with a grade separated roundabout and an overbridge. There are provisions to replace the Melling and Haywards intersections with grade-separated interchanges.


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, New Zealand Transport Agency, June 2009
  2. ^ "Tolls and fees". NZTA. Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  3. ^ Maetzig, Rob (12 March 2010). "Bypass ready to roll". Taranaki Daily News. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Work starts on MacKays to Peka Peka expressway". Fairfax New Zealand (via 2 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Oldham, Stu (19 January 2011). "Work starts on multimillion-dollar upgrade". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 15 October 2011.