The NZ Transport Agency says further work will be required before a preferred option can be selected for a new State Highway 3 route to replace the Manawatū Gorge.
“We’ve made good progress on assessing the four short listed options, but further discussions need to be had before we can make a decision on the best option with confidence,” says Ross I’Anson, NZTA Regional Transport System Manager.
“We are currently working closely and in partnership with local councils and other stakeholders to make the right long-term decision. It’s vital we have strong support on the new route as it will represent a very significant long-term investment and it will need to serve the region and the country for decades to come.”
Mr I’Anson says the Transport Agency is now aiming to complete assessment of the short-listed options including how they support regional freight connectivity in the first quarter of 2018, with the announcement of a preferred option soon after.
The Transport Agency remains committed to delivering a solution as early as possible and this is not expected to delay the overall delivery of the project.
“We understand this may be frustrating for the impacted communities and road-users. We want to thank everyone for their patience,” Mr I’Anson says.
“We’re absolutely committed to finding the best long-term solution that will support economic development and growth for the central and lower North Island through a modern, safe, efficient and resilient state highway network.”