The New Zealand city of Auckland’s $230m Manukau Harbour Crossing project will finish in August this year, seven months ahead of schedule and well ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The project on the southwestern motorway involves adding a new bridge across Manukau Harbour and upgrading the existing ones to provide four southbound lanes, including one lane just for local traffic.

This would double the capacity on the South-Western Motorway to eight lanes between Onehunga and Manukau.

The project is expected to shorten the travel time between Auckland’s Central Business District and the airport by 20 minutes.

The Manukau Harbour Crossing is part of the southern end of the 28km Western Ring Route, an alternative to State Highway 1 running between Manukau and Albany through SH 20, 16 and 18, and is one of the government’s seven roads of national significance.