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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists of further planned changes to the road layout on State Highway 1 just north of the Johnstones Hill Tunnels, which will remain in place through the Christmas holiday period.

Realignment of the southbound lane means traffic will be running adjacent to the northbound side of SH1 before returning to the southbound lanes entering the tunnel. This will allow traffic to move freely through both tunnels while creating a safe working area for contractors.

The changes are the latest in a staged sequence of work to connect SH1 to the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway under construction north of the Johnstones Hill tunnels. There will be changes to the alignment of SH1 and new lanes added before the motorway is due to open in mid – May 2022.

“Johnstones Hill can be a traffic bottleneck, where the two northbound lanes are currently reduced to one lane through the tunnel, especially at weekends or on public holidays,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.

“However, the work underway to widen the road and add new lanes will bring significant traffic flow improvements through the tunnel and on to the new motorway once it’s completed.

“In the meantime, we ask motorists to allow extra time for their journeys, avoid peak travel times if possible and keep to the temporary limit for the safety of our work crews. Drive to the conditions and don’t be distracted by work activity.”

The road layout changes will take place over the next two weeks from Sunday, 8 November to Thursday, 19 November, from 8:00pm – 4:00am (no works will take place on Friday and Saturday nights). During these works there will be an overnight closure of the northbound tunnel and stop/go traffic management in place. The Hibiscus Coast Highway will remain open in each direction during the work.  

Motorists should also note the north and southbound lanes of the Northern Motorway between Oteha Valley Road and Silverdale will be closed overnight for maintenance on Sunday and Monday nights from 9:00pm to 5:00am. A signposted detour along Dairy Flat Highway will be in place.

Waka Kotahi would like to thank drivers for their patience and understanding during this time.

The new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It will vastly improve the safety, connectivity and resilience of the transport network between Northland and Auckland, helping to boost the economic potential of the Northland region.

Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth

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