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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

The hottest ticket on offer this summer won’t be to a rock concert or sports event. It will be to walk across one of the huge new viaducts on the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway, under construction north of Auckland.

The project is holding an open day for the public on Saturday, 20 February, with just 1000 tickets available. The tickets will be free on a first come, first served basis.

“This will be a special day for young and old and we expect the limited number of tickets will be in hot demand,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.

The project team is opening the site to visitors to view one of the big viaducts – Arawhiti ki Ōkahu – and then walk on the other – Arawhiti ki Pūhoi – just north of the Johnstone Hills tunnels.

“There’s an undeniable ‘wow’ factor when you drive State Highway 1 and first see these big new structures. We’re offering the chance to get up on to the viaduct and walk that section of motorway before it’s opened to traffic. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, with project team members on hand to answer any questions.”

Arawhiti ki Pūhoi under construction in December 2020.

The viaducts are symmetrical span steel girder bridges. Arawhiti ki Ōkahu is the longest, measuring 330m in length and 25 metres wide, while the nearby Arawhiti ki Pūhoi is 316m long and 27.5 metres wide.

The viaducts are just north of the Johnstones Hills tunnels and a staged sequence of work is under way there to connect SH1 to the new motorway. Once that work is completed by early next year, motorists will be able to drive through the tunnel and on to the Ōkahu viaduct (Arawhiti ki Ōkahu). They’ll drive through a big cut in the hillside before re-joining SH1 at Pūhoi. Motorists won’t be able to drive on the Pūhoi viaduct (Arawhiti ki Pūhoi) until the rest of the 18.5 km motorway opens in May 2022.

Tickets for the open day viaduct tour will be available via Eventbrite event management and ticketing website on a first come first served basis. Registration will open at midday on Thursday, 4 February and tickets will be limited to four per person.

People with tickets will be taken in buses from a meeting place at the nearby Waiwera Hot Pools Resort for the trip which will take about 70 minutes. The event is weather dependent and may be cancelled if COVID-19 Alert Levels change.

The event involves a visit to a live construction site, transport via bus, walking on uneven and sometimes rough surfaces. Unfortunately, this means the tour is not suitable for wheelchairs, walking aids or buggies/prams. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information on the open day, go to link)

The new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It will vastly improve the safety, connectivity and resilience of the transport network between Northland and Auckland, helping to boost the economic potential of the Northland region.

Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth project website