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The Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway is officially open!
Over the last year, extreme weather events have emphasised the importance for New Zealanders to have access to safe, reliable, and resilient transport options.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said at the grand opening, “We have witnessed how crucial it is to have resilient roads in recent times.”

This motorway has come together at a critical time allowing for vital connections to Northland.

The Ara Tūhono project, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and NX2 Northern Express Group (NX2), commenced construction in 2016. The project was conceptualised by the Design Joint Venture (DJV), formed by T+T and members of Beca.

Our Joint Venture was responsible for delivering the design and providing construction phase services throughout the project’s lifecycle. T+T’s expertise in geotechnical, stormwater, and ecology disciplines were vital to the motorway’s design and construction.

Duncan Law, Ecologist at T+T says, “From the very beginning, we embraced the responsibility of safeguarding the natural environment and its inhabitants within the project’s footprint.”

A key T+T contribution involved relocating and protecting precious wildlife.  The team successfully relocated 31,593 native fish and 5,000 koura (freshwater crayfish) from streams, ensuring their continued survival. Additionally, we safely relocated 31 forest geckos (Mokopirirakau granulatus) and a pacific gecko (Hoplodactylus pacificus) before vegetation clearance. This proactive approach highlighted our dedication to preserving the biodiversity of the region.

Recognising the significance of native flora, we meticulously measured over 1,800 native trees to calculate the project’s mitigation requirements. Furthermore, we undertook extensive efforts in native forest restoration and stitching existing fragmented remnant forests together, dedicating 59 hectares to this crucial endeavour. Additionally, 9 kilometres of stream riparian planting were carefully implemented, contributing to the enhancement of the local ecosystem.

The magnitude of the Ara Tūhono project is huge. With a total length of 18.5 kilometres and seven new bridges, this extension of the SH1 motorway pushes northward from the Johnstones Hill Tunnels to just north of Warkworth.

Notably, the project involved moving 10.5 million cubic meters of earthworks, with the largest cut reaching a towering 70 meters high and the largest fill measuring 50 meters high.

Ara Tūhono stands as a testament to our dedication to creating infrastructure solutions that prioritise environmental stewardship. As the road opened last weekend, we take pride in our contributions and look forward to witnessing the positive impact this project will have on the community and the 35,000 vehicles that will use this motorway per day as predicted, by 2026.

We are immensely proud of our involvement in the Ara Tūhono project, which illustrates our commitment to environmental sustainability, innovation, and collaboration.

Together, we have paved the way for a brighter, greener future, establishing a pathway of connectivity that will benefit generations to come.