Light rail may have gone off the tracks in Auckland, but a $62 million road is roaring ahead and giving motorists something to smile about for paying the regional fuel tax.

The start today of construction on the Matakana Link Rd that will help ease traffic congestion at a choke point on State Highway 1 that causes long delays on holiday weekends is underway, says Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

He said the roading project will create up to 120 jobs post-Covid and give people a choice of driving on a four-lane road or riding a bike or walking on a separated path alongside the road.

It will also bring long-term benefits to the Warkworth community, which is forecast to grow from a population of 4500 to more than 25,000 over the next 25 years.

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The first stage of the new road is due for completion about the same time as the new $710m Puhoi to Warkworth highway at the end of next year.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the Matakana Link Rd will relieve congestion at the notorious Hill St intersection, improve access to the east coast beaches and communities, and provide jobs and economic stimulus to Auckland.

Stage one of the 1.35km road is expected to be completed by the end of next year and stage two delivered based on traffic growth with improvements to the roundabout connection of Matakana Link Rd and Matakana Rd.

The project is part funded by the regional petrol tax out of $30.5m from Auckland Transport and $31.7m from the NZ Transport Agency.