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ACCIONA starts construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in New Zealand


The project will help to improve passenger and freight transport in the northern part of the country.

The project is worth NZD $709.5 million (around €466.5 million) and is structured as a public-private partnership.

Northern Express Group (NX2), which includes ACCIONA Concessions, officially turned the first sod in the construction of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in New Zealand, a key project in improving the transport network in the northern part of the country.

This event marks the start of construction of the first section of the Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Wellsford corridor, a “Road of National Significance” that forms part of a national program to improve passenger and freight transport between some of New Zealand’s main urban centres.

The motorway will help to improve travel and transport times between Northland and the other cities of the upper North Island freight triangle formed by Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga, as well as supporting greater inter-regional and national economic growth. 

Under the contract signed with the New Zealand Transport Agency, the NX2 consortium, which includes ACCIONA Concessions, will design, construct, finance, manage and maintain the motorway for a 25 year period, which is scheduled to open for traffic by the end of 2021.

The NZD $709.5 million (approx. €466.5 million) project is a public-private partnership initiative consisting of an 18.5 km four-lane extension to the Northern Motorway (SH1), from the Johnstone’s Hills Tunnels to the north of Warkworth. 

The motorway will comprise a four-lane dual carriageway (two lanes on each side) divided by a central median with a safety barrier. 

NX2 Chief Executive, Ray Wilson, confirmed that this will be one of the safest motorways in New Zealand, with lower grades that will lead to safer driving for motorists while being more resilient to natural disasters and closures.

“Time savings are expected to be greater for freight due to the reductions in grades and a better road layout, which helps heavy vehicles maintain higher average speeds along the route”.

It will also improve connectivity between the growth areas in the northern Rodney area and alleviate congestion in Warkworth by providing a bypass for through traffic, while increasing travel time consistency.

The NX2 consortium brings together companies with considerable experience of designing, constructing, financing, maintaining and managing transport infrastructure projects. NX2’s equity investors are Accident Compensation Corporation & Public Infrastructure Partners II LP (managed by Morrison & Co PIP Limited), ACCIONA Concesiones and Fletcher Building. 

NX2’s design and construction joint venture involves ACCIONA Infrastructure and Fletcher Construction, and the asset management and maintenance joint venture will involve ACCIONA Concesiones and Higgins. 

Extensive experience in Oceania

This is ACCIONA’s first contract in New Zealand, although the company already has an important presence in Oceania thanks to its extensive experience in Australia where it has been since 2002 and which has become a platform for entering the markets of Southeast Asia.  

ACCIONA is a leading firm in the Australian sector after being selected to construct some of the most emblematic infrastructure projects tendered in recent years.

It is a partner in the Nexus Infrastructure consortium that is currently constructing the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) in Queensland, a PPP project worth AU$1.6 billion. The company is also a partner in Altrac Light Rail, the consortium which is constructing a new 12 kilometre tram line and operating another 12.8 kilometre tram line in Sydney.

ACCIONA also constructed the Legacy Way tunnels in Brisbane that won international awards for introducing innovative sustainable construction methods and for breaking the world record for tunnel construction speed.

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