New Zealand will fund the construction of a 23km state highway, worth NZ$450m ($328m), by tolling a new 17km road for up to 35 years.

New Zealand transport minister Steven Joyce said the new motorway bypassing the town of Te Puke will be tolled to cover the $100m funding needed for the highway project.

Local motorists will have to pay a toll of NZ$2 ($1.5) and truck drivers up to NZ$5 ($3.6) on the new motorway, according to

The Baypark-Paengaro highway project is expected to begin in 2011 and is intended to help motorists save up to 12 minutes in journey time each way when it opens in 2016.

The project involves widening an existing road and constructing a new four-lane motorway.