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Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth tolling proposal

Thank you for your submissions and feedback on the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth tolling proposal. Consultation has now closed.

Waka Kotahi will produce a report which will summarise the feedback we receive. This report will be provided to the Minister of Transport who will make a decision about recommending tolling for this road to Cabinet. The consultation report will also be made publicly available in due course.

If you have any questions about the consultation, please email P2Wktolling@nzta.govt.nz

Safe, resilient and reliable travel between Pūhoi and Warkworth

The new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will provide people travelling through this region with a separated motorway and vastly improve the safety, connectivity and resilience of the network between Northland and Auckland, helping to boost the economic potential of the Northland region.

We are seeking feedback on a proposal to toll the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway. Submissions close 15 June 2020.

Background

The new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will extend the Northern Motorway (SH1) from Johnstones Hill Tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It will provide people travelling through this region with a separated motorway and vastly improve the safety, connectivity and resilience of the network between Northland and Auckland, helping to boost the economic potential of the Northland region.

This will be achieved through easier freight movements and better access to major markets south of the region and to export ports at Auckland and Tauranga. The tourism sector will also benefit with improved journey times opening access to popular destinations in Northland and the Far North.

The motorway is scheduled to open at the end of 2021, but this may be delayed by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s also important that we’re preventing people being killed or seriously injured on the existing State Highway 1. That is why we have undertaken a review of the current speed limits on this road between L Phillips Road (near SheepWorld) and Pūhoi.

We are seeking feedback on two proposals along this transport corridor. We are proposing a toll for the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway and following our informal engagement in 2019, we are formally consulting on proposed lower speed limits for the current State Highway 1.

Tolling proposal

Waka Kotahi is seeking feedback on its proposal to toll the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway.

Every new state highway in New Zealand, along with significant upgrades to existing state highways are assessed to see if they meet the criteria to be tolled. 

In many cases, tolling allows us to build roads earlier than we would otherwise have been able to. Because there was so much support for this new section between Johnstones Hill Tunnels and Warkworth, we made the decision to bring construction forward through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract and to consult with partners, stakeholders and the community about funding the project through tolling during construction.

If the road is tolled, there will always be a free, safe alternative for people who don’t want to pay the toll because the current State Highway 1 will remain operational.

Key benefits

The benefits of the new motorway are:

  • improved safety and connectivity
  • improved journey time reliability
  • easier freight movements
  • boosting the economic potential of the Northland region

Building in partnership  

In November 2016, Waka Kotahi awarded a PPP contract to the Northern Express Group (NX2). Under the partnership agreement, NX2 would finance, design, construct, manage and maintain the motorway for 25 years after its completion. Full ownership of the motorway remains with Waka Kotahi.

This meant construction could get underway earlier than if funding were secured through the normal process of being prioritised in the National Land Transport Programme in full at the beginning of the project. We now need to finance the road over the next 25 years and tolling will enable us to make the payments to our partners who are building the road.

An initial assessment in 2011 found tolling could be used to fund the project and tolling the road in the future was not discounted. An assessment completed last year confirmed that the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is suitable to be a toll road.

See the progress on the project so far(external link)

What does the tolling assessment consider?

The tolling of new roads comes under Section 46 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003 and requires that an Order in Council process be completed before the road is opened.

Infographic showing the tolling process

View larger version [PDF, 59 KB]

Find out more about the tolling process

How the toll will be used

The revenue collected from the toll will be used to ensure the road remains safe, well maintained and will contribute to the annual amount we need to pay the PPP over the 25 years following the opening of the motorway. It will free up money in the National Land Transport Fund to invest in other important transport infrastructure projects. 

What the toll means for you

The proposed toll and method of payment would be consistent with the Northern Gateway Toll Road which is currently $2.40 for light vehicles and $4.80 for heavy vehicles.

If the road is tolled, there will always be a free, safe alternative for people who do not want to pay the toll because the current State Highway 1 will remain operational.

People travelling northbound from the Northern Gateway Toll Road will be able to exit at Pūhoi if they choose to travel on the free route.

There is no southbound exit from the new motorway before the Northern Gateway Toll Road. This means southbound travellers would not be able to choose the toll-free option using the current State Highway 1 and scenic Hibiscus Coast Highway (formally State Highway 17) via Ōrewa if they joined the new motorway before Warkworth at the northern end.

Consultation documents

Please read the following documents carefully and consider what effects the proposed toll would have on you. Some parts of these documents have been redacted under the Official Information Act.

Tolling assessment

Every new state highway in New Zealand, along with significant upgrades to existing state highways are assessed to see if they meet the criteria to be tolled. This tolling assessment shows how the new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway meets that criteria, including any potential impacts of tolling. The assessment was presented to the Waka Kotahi Board earlier this year helping them make an informed decision to progress the tolling proposal through the Minister.

Tolling assessment [PDF, 812 KB]

Board paper

This paper presented to the Waka Kotahi Board in March this year. The paper recommends the new motorway for tolling and explains key points of the assessment, which led to that recommendation.

Board paper [PDF, 359 KB]

Tolling report

This report describes a detailed analysis of the impacts of tolling on the new motorway. It informed our recommendation to toll and the decision to proceed with public consultation.

Tolling report [PDF, 4.9 MB]

Making a submission

Our consultation processes usually provide various opportunities for face-to-face engagement. However, due to the restrictions associated with COVID-19 and our commitment to reducing the risk of the virus spreading, we continued to take a careful approach to our public engagement and provided online opportunities for your feedback. 

Submissions closed on Monday 15 June 2020.

Next steps

Following the consultation period, a report will be produced which will summarise the feedback we receive. This report will be provided to the Minister of Transport who will make a decision about recommending tolling for this road to Cabinet.

If a decision is made that the new motorway will be a toll road, an Order in Council must be in place before the road opens.

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