The New Zealand government has given the go-ahead to build a $1.025bn Transmission Gully motorway in the north of Wellington.

The 26km inland highway will stretch from Linden to MacKays Crossing and is part of the upgrade plan for the State Highway 1 between Wellington and Levin to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth.

The upgraded road will save 23-33 minutes during peak times and 17-23 minutes during the day on the route.

The project is expected to finish in nearly ten years and will be funded through the $11bn the government plans to invest in the new State Highway Infrastructure over the next decade.

The road is also expected to provide an alternative route out of Wellington in the event of a major earthquake or other disaster.