The work to widen the North Western motorway is becoming ever more prominent – and soon requiring the closure of the bus lanes. So I thought I would look for some old photos from when it was under construction to help show how much the area has changed in the just over 60 years since it was built.
Back in 1949 Auckland was a very different place. For a start there were no motorways and we had trams rolling around most of the isthmus which was where most of urban development was focused. The land on the Avondale and Te Atatu Peninsulas was used for farming and of course the North Western motorway didn’t exist. One of the key reasons for building the motorway was apparently to provide better access to the airport – which at the time was at Whenuapai. This was also to be the main route north out of Auckland and it was only after the harbour bridge opened that plans to run the main highway north cutting through the central city emerged.
By late 1951 construction would be well under-way. In the two images below you can see the causeway extending out into the harbour.
Further along the route you can see construction in the early stages between Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd
By late 1955 you can see the Te Atatu Rd interchange starting to emerge.
On the city side, the motorway ended at Pt Chevalier where it joined Gt North Rd. It wasn’t extended to the city till the 1970’s when the CMJ was built.
Since opening the motorway has been widened and added to numerous times. It started out as a four lane motorway and by the time the current upgrade is finished, some parts will be up to 11 lanes wide when you include the bus lanes.