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Mount Messenger full file2

Programme introduction

This 58 km section of SH3, Taranaki’s main route north, runs through rough terrain and is winding and narrow. A number of improvements are proposed across SH3 to improve safety, resilience, route availability and travel times.

  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status


Project updates

Consultation on Options Report – April 2017
Public consultation, (PDF)
Project update – November 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Community Consultation on Options Summary Booklet
Public consultation, (PDF)
Project update – August 2016
Project updates, (PDF)

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Tell us what you think

We’re committed to improving safety, journey times and reliability for road users on State Highway 3 (SH3) and need your help to do this. Tell us what you think about the options for improvements along SH3.

Three projects

The overall State Highway 3 programme of improvements is made up of three projects. These are:

  • safety and resilience improvements across SH3
  • the Mt Messenger bypass investigation
  • Awakino Tunnel bypass investigation.


The Programme will improve safety and route availability along this key transport route.

The main objectives are to:

  • reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes
  • reduce the number and duration of road closures
  • improve journey time predictability
  • improve drivers’ experience along the SH3.


Initial investigations on SH3 were carried out in the 1970s and 1980s by the Ministry of Works and Development for the National Roads Board. Since then a number of studies and investigations have been completed.

The recent business case confirmed there are ongoing safety, route availability and travel time issues, due to poor road layout along SH3. Poor alignment has resulted in a number of deaths, serious injuries and road closures over recent years.

Key improvements to SH3 are needed to address the identified problems and we are investigating solutions.

Cost and funding source

Together, the improvements on SH3 north of Taranaki will total $114-135 million.



Funding source

Awakino Tunnel bypass

$9–15 million

Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme

Mt Messenger bypass

$80-90 million

Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme

Safety and resilience improvements

$25-30 million

National Land Transport Programme 2015–18 (external link) .


Construction for each project is estimated to occur during:

  • 2017 to 19 – Safety and resilience improvements
  • 2018 to 20 – Awakino Tunnel bypass
  • 2018 to 20 – Mt Messenger bypass.

Coming up

Investigations are continuing to explore viable options for all the projects. We will provide more information and engage with potentially affected landowners, the local community, iwi and other stakeholders to consider the options before finalising any preferred options.