Northland councils are chalking up a win after lobbying to extend the Auckland highway to Whangarei.
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has been working on plans to extend the four-lane highway to Warkworth, then Wellsford.
But Northland Regional Council chair Bill Shepherd said the NZTA had now agreed to consider the feasibility of a highway upgrade all the way to Whangarei.
Rail advocates said the money should instead be spent on upgrading the run-down North Auckland railway line to carry containers.
But Mr Shepherd said road freight was the better option for now because nearly all Northland freight travelled by road along with most of its tourist traffic.
He said all four Northland councils had been working together to convince the government to extend the highway.
NZTA expects to release the new highway proposal by August.