Northwestern Motorway

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State Highway 16 NZ.svg

Northwestern Motorway
State Highway 16
The motorway west of Waterview
Route information
Maintained by NZ Transport Agency
Length21 km (13 mi)
Major junctions
East endState Highway 16 NZ.svg SH 16 Stanley Street at Auckland City Centre
 State Highway 1 NZ.svg SH 1 Northern Motorway/Southern Motorway at Auckland City Centre
West endBrigham Creek Road, Whenuapai
Central Auckland, West Auckland
Highway system
Looking west along the Northwestern Motorway between Newton Road and Bond Street.
Looking east towards the Central Motorway Junction.

The Northwestern Motorway (also known historically as the Auckland–Kumeu Motorway), part of State Highway 16 (SH16), is the major western route and secondary northern route out of Auckland in New Zealand. Twenty-one kilometres in length, the motorway runs from Stanley St in Parnell through the Central Motorway Junction, and west through urban Auckland and Waitakere before continuing northwest and terminating outside of Kumeu. Its western terminus is at Brigham Creek Road in Whenuapai. A large part of it forms the middle section of the Western Ring Route.


The first section of the Northwestern Motorway, from Waterview to Te Atatu, was finished in 1952.[1][2] The section between Waterview and Rosebank peninsula is known as "The Causeway".[3] The next section opened for traffic in 1955, then offering a two-laned 7.8 km section from Great North Road (current Exit 8) to Lincoln Road (current Exit 16). The section involved bridges over inlets of the Waitematā Harbour, which cut the journey between central Auckland and its airport at Whenuapai by 8 km. This section was later upgraded to four lanes.

In 1957, the motorway was extended westwards by one km to Lincoln Park Avenue, between the current Lincoln Road and Royal Road interchanges. In 1961, it was extended again by 2.7 km to Hobsonville Road at what is now Westgate. Traffic could now travel 11.5 km on the Northwestern Motorway, and the journey between Auckland and Whenuapai was cut by a total of 9 km compared with local roads.

In 1966, the current Auckland International Airport opened at Mangere, and Whenuapai reverted to a military airport. This affected the use of the motorway, delaying further extensions.

Motorway construction recommenced in the late 1970s, to connect the Northwestern Motorway at Waterview to the Auckland city centre, bypassing Great North Road. The first section to open was in 1979, stretching 2.4 km from Newton Road (Exit 5) to Western Springs, at the current site of the eastbound on/off-ramps for St Lukes Road (Exit 6). At the same time, ramps opened as part of the Central Motorway Junction from Newton Road to Nelson Street and Hobson Street (now Exit 4B), connecting the Northwestern Motorway to the city centre. Traffic could access the Southern and Northern Motorways indirectly from the Nelson Street and Hobson Street intersections.

In 1981, the 2.4 km section between Great North Road at Waterview and Motions Road near Western Springs opened, leaving a small 1 km gap where traffic had to use Great North Road. This gap was filled in 1983 when the St Lukes Road interchange was completed.

In 1988, ramps were installed at the Central Motorway Junction to allow direct access between the Southern Motorway and the Northwestern Motorway. The following year, ramps opened between Grafton Gully and the Northwestern Motorway, allowing motorway traffic direct access to the eastern city centre and the port.

In 2006, two new ramps were installed to directly connect the Northwestern Motorway and the Northern Motorway.[4]

On 7 August 2011 a 3 kilometre, 4-lane extension of the Northwestern Motorway opened from Hobsonville Road to Brigham Creek Road in Whenuapai, along with a 6 kilometre, 4-lane extension of State Highway 18 motorway from the end of the Northwestern Motorway at Hobsonville Road to the western end of Upper Harbour Bridge in Hobsonville.

From 2012 to 2016 extra lanes were added between St Lukes and Westgate in preparation for the opening, on 2 July 2017, of the Waterview Connection.


Territorial authority Location km # Destinations Notes
Auckland Council Parnell 1.2 SH 16 east (Stanley Street) – Port Northwestern Motorway begins
Grafton 1.7 2 SH 1 south (Southern Motorway) – Manukau, Hamilton Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
1.8 2A Wellesley Street Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Auckland CBD 2.8 3 SH 1 north (Northern Motorway) – North Shore, Whangarei Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
3.2 4C SH 1 south (Southern Motorway) – Manukau, Hamilton Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
3.3 4B Nelson Street – City Centre, Sky City Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
4A SH 1 north (Northern Motorway) – North Shore, Whangarei Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Newton 3.5 5 Newton Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Western Springs 6.3 6 Route 9 St Lukes Road – Mt Albert, Western Springs, Pt Chevalier
Point Chevalier 8.1 8A Route 11 Great North Road – Avondale, New Lynn
8B SH 20 (Southwestern Motorway) – Manukau, Auckland Airport Waterview Connection
Avondale North 10.8 11 Rosebank Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
12.3 12 Patiki Road – Avondale, New Lynn Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Te Atatu South 13.5 14 Route 13 Te Atatu Road – Henderson
Lincoln North 15.6 16 Route 19 Lincoln Road – Henderson
Massey East 17.8 18 Royal Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Westgate 19.4 19A Route 32 Hobsonville Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
19B SH 18 (Upper Harbour Motorway) – North Shore Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Whenuapai SH 16 north – Kumeu, Helensville Northwestern Motorway ends

See also[edit]