The largest steel beams ever made in New Zealand are being installed on one of Auckland's largest transport projects - the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway.

Work has started installing the 50m steel bridge spans on a dedicated bus bridge over the Tamaki River.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff today said the bridge spans more than 200m and contains 1000 tonnes of steel and 2000 tonnes of concrete.

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Each of the four steel beams will be dropped in over three days and connected to the section behind it.

The new bridge runs alongside the existing Panmure bridge and will include new cycling and walking paths and lookout platforms.

"It's a feat of engineering and will be an integral part of the completed busway, supporting high frequency bus travel between Panmure and Pakuranga and eventually Botany once the full project is completed in 2025," Goff said.

He said the project, which includes about $200m from the regional fuel tax, will give locals a real transport choice and ease congestion in east Auckland.

The busway was first announced in 2006 - before Auckland Transport existed - and took until 2018 for work to begin.

Each 50m steel beam takes three days to install. Photo / Auckland Transport
Each 50m steel beam takes three days to install. Photo / Auckland Transport

When complete it will create a dedicated, congestion-free busway between Panmure, Pakuranga, and Botany town centres - in a similar way to the Northern Busway in Albany.

It will also be supported by three new stations at Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany and include a new flyover connecting Pakuranga Highway and Pakuranga Rd.

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Stage one of the project between Panmure and Pakuranga is due for completion next year.

When the busway is fully operational in 2025, commuters will be able to travel between Botany and Britomart, by bus and train, in less than 40 minutes.