Green light for State Highway 3 improvements

Monday, April 17, 2017

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the route for a bypass of the Awakino Tunnel and the next steps for the Mt Messenger bypass project.

“State Highway 3 is a key priority for the Government. That’s why we’re investing $135 million to provide a better and more resilient connection between the Taranaki Region and the upper North Island,” Bridges said.

“A two-bridge bypass of Awakino Tunnel has been selected that was also the favoured option by the public. Design and consenting work will now commence ahead of construction.”

Bridges said the community strongly favoured improved safety, resilience and journey experience as key priorities along the route, and they would be delivering a package of safety and resilience improvements along the 58km stretch of highway that includes road widening, intersection improvements, passing opportunities, road realignments and slope stability.

“Further work is needed before a preferred option for the Mt Messenger bypass project can be confirmed. Feedback strongly supported Option 3, the bypass route, but some concerns about environmental and cultural impacts were raised,” Bridges said.

The NZTA is now reviewing the concerns raised and will work with community leaders to develop an option for the Mt Messenger bypass.

“The final solution will balance the desired safety, resilience and journey experience benefits with acceptable environmental and cultural effects,” Bridges said.

An announcement on the preferred option for Mt Messenger is expected to be made in August.

The project is part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme, which is designed to speed up delivery of important regional transport projects.

1. SH3 - Awakino Tunnel To Mt Messenger safety and resilience project graphic

2. SH3 - Awakino Tunnel Bypass artist impression