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The Auckland Southern Motorway (also known as the Southern Motorway, and historically as the Auckland–Hamilton Motorway) is the major route south out of the Auckland Region of New Zealand. It is part of State Highway 1.

State Highway 1 NZ.svg

Auckland Southern Motorway
Route information
Maintained by NZ Transport Agency
Length46 km (29 mi)
Existed16 July 1953–present
Major junctions
North endState Highway 1 NZ.svg SH 1 Northern Motorway at Auckland City Centre
 State Highway 16 NZ.svg SH 16 Northwestern Motorway at Auckland City Centre
State Highway 20 NZ.svg SH 20 at Manukau City Centre
State Highway 22 NZ.svg SH 22 at Drury
South endState Highway 1 NZ.svg SH 1 Waikato Expressway at Bombay
Auckland City
Auckland Airport
Highway system
View looking north over Auckland's Southern Motorway from Bremner Road overbridge at Drury, Auckland

The motorway is 45 kilometres in length, with 28 junctions including termini. It runs from the Central Motorway Junction in central Auckland, through Manukau City, Papakura, and Drury, before terminating onto the Waikato Expressway at the top of the Bombay Hills.



The Southern Motorway starts just north of the Central Motorway Junction (Spaghetti Junction) on the west side of central Auckland. The motorway is a direct extension of the Northern Motorway, which changes to the Southern Motorway just south of exits 424C and 424D.

For the first kilometre, the road is two lanes each way due to the constraints of the Victoria Park Viaduct to the north. The motorway then delves deep into the Central Motorway Junction, turning eastward to form a southern boundary to the Auckland CBD, the turning south-eastwards as it leaves the junction. There are several exits northbound only through the junction, connecting to the city centre and the Northwest Motorway.

South of the junction is the busiest section of the motorway, and busiest section of road in New Zealand carrying an average of 200,000 vehicles per day, and to cope with this, the short section between Khyber Pass Road and Gillies Avenue is five lanes wide each way. A large volume of traffic leaves at Gillies Ave to head for Auckland International Airport.

The motorway then crosses the narrow Newmarket Viaduct, before turning to follow the North Auckland Rail Line to Ellerslie. At Ellerslie, the motorway leaves the railway line and skirts around Penrose, heading in a south-easterly direction towards Hamlins Hill where there are junctions with the South-Eastern Highway (Southbound exit and northbound entrance only) and the Mt Wellington Highway.

Immediately after the Mt Wellington Highway interchange, the motorway curves south to head towards the Tamaki River. After crossing the Tamaki River, the motorway forms a boundary between the suburbs of Papatoetoe to the west and Otara to the east. At Manukau City Centre, the motorway has a major junction with the South-Western Motorway and then bypasses Manurewa to the east. The motorway then curves towards the south-westerly direction where it crosses Great South Road at the Takanini interchange. The motorway once again curves south and bypasses Papakura to the west.

At Drury, the motorway has a junction with State Highway 22, before heading south towards the Bombay Hills. At the Bombay interchange, the motorway becomes the Waikato Expressway and continues on south towards the Waikato.


The first section of the Southern Motorway opened on 16 July 1953, between Ellerslie-Panmure Highway and Mount Wellington Highway (Exit 438). It was quickly extended southwards in 1955 to Redoubt Road to provide a higher-capacity and faster alternative to Great South Road between Ellerslie and Wiri.

In 1963, the motorway was extended at both ends, the northern terminus was moved north to Green Lane East and the southern terminus was moved south to Takanini to allow traffic to bypass Manurewa. Both ends were extended again in 1965, the northern end to St Marks Road at the southern end of the Newmarket Viaduct, the southern end to Great South Road at Runciman, just south of the current Drury interchange.

In 1966, the Newmarket Viaduct was opened, and the northern terminus was extended to Khyber Pass Road, bypassing Newmarket. An extension was also opened for northbound traffic to Symonds Street. In 1969, the motorway was extended to Wellesley Street, allow traffic in both directions to access the central city. A Symonds Street on-ramp for southbound traffic opened in 1971.

Much of the mid-1970s construction on the Southern Motorway involved building on-ramps and off-ramps in the Central Motorway Junction. Ramps to the western side of the CBD at Nelson Street and Hobson Street opened for southbound traffic in 1973 and northbound traffic in 1977. Ramps to Grafton Road, allowing access to the Port of Auckland, opened to southbound traffic in 1975 and northbound traffic in 1978.

In 1978, the southern end was extended to Great South Road at St Stephens on the northern side of the Bombay Hills and the northern end was extended to the Northern Motorway at Cook Street/Wellington Street, allowing continuous motorway travel from Tristam Avenue on the North Shore to St Stephens. In 1988, ramps opened to allow direct motorway access between the Southern Motorway and the Northwestern Motorway.

In 1993, the southern end of the motorway was extended to Mill Road, near Bombay. The extension bypassed the traffic light-controlled crossroads at St Stephens, known to be an accident blackspot and causing delays of up to two hours during holiday periods. Accompanying the extension was the building of the first part of the Waikato Expressway, which allowed traffic from the Southern Motorway to have a clear run as far as the State Highway 2 interchange on the south side of the Bombay Hills.[1]

In 2010 the interchange between the Southwestern Motorway and Southern Motorway at Manukau became fully operational.

On 29 January 2012 the replacement Newmarket Viaduct was opened to northbound traffic. The 7-lane (4 south, 3 north) bridge replaced the existing 6-lane structure by moving it northwards in stages. The remaining ancillary parts of the project are due for completion in 2013.[2]

Abandoned projectEdit

  • SH1-20 east–west corridor linking the southern and western motorways between East Tamaki and Onehunga – The Eastern Transport Corridor is a route that was reserved for a new motorway to the fast-growing business and residential suburbs of east and south-east Auckland. Strong political opposition meant that development of the route did not proceed. Instead, the focus shifted to public transport improvements. AMETI (Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative) consisted of a major upgrade of Panmure railway station and the construction of a busway between it and Botany Town Centre in Botany. The station was upgraded, and as of August 2019, stage 2 of AMETI consists of the Eastern Busway which is scheduled for completion in 2026.[3]


Territorial authority and local board(s)[a] Location km[b] # Destination Notes
AucklandWaitematā Board Auckland CBD 427.0   SH 1 north (Northern Motorway) – North Shore, Whangarei Southern Motorway begins
427.4 427 Nelson Street – City Centre (West) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
427.8 428   SH 16 west (Northwestern Motorway) – Waitakere, Helensville Northbound exit and southbound entrance
428.4 429C   SH 16 east (Northwestern Motorway) – Port Northbound exit and southbound entrance
429B Wellesley Street – City Centre (East) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
429A Symonds Street – City Centre (South) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Newmarket 428.9 430 Route 12 Khyber Pass Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Auckland – Waitematā/Albert-Eden Boards 429.5 431   Route 12 Gillies Ave – Airport, Newmarket, Epsom Southbound exit and northbound entrance
431.0   Newmarket Viaduct
Auckland – Ōrākei Board Remuera West 431.8 432 Market Road Southbound and northbound exits
Greenlane 433.1 433 Route 9 Green Lane East – Remuera, Greenlane
Ellerslie 434.1 434 Tecoma Street – Ellerslie, Racecourse Southbound exit and entrance
Auckland – Ōrākei/Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Boards Ellerslie South 435.3 435 Route 5 Ellerslie-Panmure Highway – Ellerslie, Penrose, Panmure, Racecourse
Auckland – Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Board Mt Wellington South 437.6 437   Route 10 South-Eastern Highway – Airport, Onehunga, Pakuranga, Howick No northbound exit (Access available via exit 438)
438.4 438 Route 6 Mt Wellington Highway – Sylvia Park, Mt Wellington, Panmure, Onehunga
Auckland – Mangere-Otahuhu Board Otahuhu East 441.1 441 Princes Street – Otahuhu, Middlemore, Hospital
Auckland – Otara-Papatoetoe Board Otara West 442.6 443 Highbrook Drive
Otara 443.9 444 Route 8 East Tamaki Road – Otara, East Tamaki, Papatoetoe
Manukau CBD 446.8 447 Route 30 Te Irirangi Drive Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Auckland – Otara-Papatoetoe/Manurewa Boards 448.0 448 Redoubt Road – Manukau No northbound exit (Access available via exit 449A).
448.7 449B (north)
449 (south)
  SH 20 (Southwestern Motorway) – Auckland Airport Signposted as exit 449 when traveling south
448.7 449A Great South Road – Manukau Northbound exit only
Auckland – Manurewa Board Manurewa 450.8 451 Hill Road – Manurewa No northbound exit (Access available via exit 453)
Auckland – Papakura Board Takanini 453.8 453 Route 3 Great South Road – Takanini, Manurewa
Pahurehure 457.9 458 Beach Road/Hingaia Road – Papakura, Karaka
Drury 459.9    Papakura Service Centre Southbound only
Auckland – Papakura/Franklin Boards 461.0 461   SH 22 (Great South Road) – Drury, Pukekohe
Auckland – Franklin Board Ramarama 465.6 466 Ararimu Road – Ramarama
Bombay 471.5 471 Bombay, Pukekohe
   Bombay Service Centre
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
472.0   SH 1 south (Waikato Expressway/Thermal Explorer Highway) – Hamilton, Tauranga Southern Motorway ends
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

a In some areas, the Southern Motorway forms the border between two local boards. Local boards are listed so that the board on left side in kilometre-ascending direction (i.e. the board on the eastern side of the motorway) is listed first. b Distances are measured form the start of State Highway 1 at Cape Reinga.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Auckland Motorways 2008" (PDF). New Zealand Transport Agency. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  2. ^ "SH1 Newmarket Connection: Viaduct Replacement Project". NZ Transport Agency. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Work starting on next stage of $1.4 billion busway in east Auckland". The New Zealand Herald. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2019.