The planned Warkworth-Wellsford motorway extension will help make the freight trip between Auckland and Whangarei safer and more efficient, a group representing transport companies says.

But the National Road Carriers wants a motorway all the way between the two cities within 10 years.

Last week the Government released an indicative route for the Warkworth-Wellsford motorway.

It will pass to the west of Warkworth, possibly bore through a tunnel west of Dome Valley, cross the existing State Highway 1 just south of Wellsford, then pass east of Wellsford and Te Hana before rejoining SH1 north of Mangawhai Rd.


Interchanges will connect to the motorway at Warkworth, Wayby Valley Rd for Wellsford, and Mangawhai Rd for Te Hana.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the motorway would reduce travel time between Warkworth and Te Hana by bypassing town centres and avoiding the steep and winding Dome Valley.

Mr Bridges said it would help Northland's economy grow by getting people to work and freight to key export markets more quickly.

The straighter road was expected to reduce deaths and serious injuries due to crashes by 80 per cent, as well as reducing congestion.

National Road Carriers - which represents the road transport industry - said the proposed route will help make the freight trip between Auckland and Whangarei safer and more efficient.

"It will allow heavy trucks to bypass both Warkworth and Wellsford and address the current road's poor safety record. With the State Highway between Auckland and Whangarei and towns further north Northland's "economic lifeline," a 'fit for purpose' State Highway link cannot come fast enough," National Road Carriers chief executive David Aitken said.

"The hundreds of heavy freight vehicles that travel the route every day make a critical contribution to Northland's economy, employment, and lifestyle. While the step forward is welcome, we remain hopeful that a motorway standard link for the whole route between Auckland and Whangarei can be accelerated and delivered within 10 years. A strong case can be made for making the upgrade of the Auckland to Whangarei route a single, seamless project."

He said there is no rail link for long haul freight into or from Northland and there is just one major road linking Auckland and Northland.


Freight studies clearly indicate that Northland's freight growth will be in the top five of New Zealand regions over the next 30 years.

"To cater for this growth, NZTA needs to provide a clear programme timeline in its next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) for a 'whole of route' upgrade of SH1 from Puhoi to Whangarei as a four-lane highway by 2027 or sooner," Mr Aitken said.

"The end game should be to give Northland a safe, modern year-round road network."