The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZ Transport Agency) has issued the Registration of Interest (ROI) for the first stage of the Southern Motorway improvement works.

The first stage of the NZD423m ($280.44m) project involves road works between Papakura and Drury South to improve transportation in the southern Auckland region.

Overall, the project will improve connectivity and traffic flow between Manukau and Papakura.

The improvement work will involve building a third lane for both directions along an 8km section, the replacement of bridges and the modernisation of an interchange at Drury.

The motorway will also feature a separated shared walking and cycling path.

Construction work for the first stage is expected to commence later this year while the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Meanwhile, NZ Transport Agency asked consultancy companies to submit tenders for professional service contracts related to the Penlink project from the Northern Motorway to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Penlink involves building a two-lane, tolled, 7km-long state highway with a walking and cycling path to improve connectivity between northern Auckland and other parts of the city.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in late 2021 while the road is expected to open in 2025.

NZ Transport Agency Transport Services general manager Brett Gliddon said: “These are important steps towards getting on with building these important projects, which will improve people’s journeys and support Auckland as it grows.

“The upgrade programme will play a vital role in helping to stimulate the economy. The projects will support and create jobs, as well boost productivity by improving reliability and transport choice.”

Last month, NZ Transport Agency entered into a partnership with several entities to prevent car accidents caused by distracted driving.