The Government of New Zealand has designated NZD2.2bn ($1.44bn) to build new roads in the city of Auckland.

The move is a part of the government’s NZD12bn ($7.84bn) programme that seeks to build and upgrade the country’s roads, railways, schools and hospitals.

Overall, New Zealand will invest NZD6.8bn ($4.44bn) to improve transport infrastructure across six main growth areas: Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury and Queenstown.

The investment will be allocated for a variety of projects to mitigate congestion, improve road safety and speed up travel times.

In Auckland, the SH1 will be widened from Papakura to Drury and a separate cycleway will be built alongside to facilitate commuter movement.

A section of funding will be used to build Penlink, a proposed shorter route connecting Whangaparaoa Peninsula with SH1.

Other projects include upgrading SH1 Whangarei to Port Marsden to four lanes and upgrading Mill Road.

Several other road projects in Christchurch and Queenstown will also be funded under the upgrade programme.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said: “The New Zealand Upgrade Programme reflects the government’s balanced transport policy with NZD6.8bn being invested across road, rail, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure across New Zealand.

“This programme brings forward and funds significant projects, allowing them to be built sooner. The significant package is designed to give the construction industry certainty and confidence about future work.”

Last month, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) officially opened the two-lane Taipā Bridge in Northland.

The 107m bridge features two traffic lanes with a 2.5m shared path for walking and cycling.