Plan ahead for SH3 roadworks at Awakino and Mt Messenger


People are advised to plan ahead for roadworks on State Highway 3 north of New Plymouth, with works taking place at both the Awakino Tunnel Bypass and on Mt Messenger next week.

Weather permitting, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency contractors will start sealing work on the new Awakino Tunnel Bypass alignment from Monday 21 March. This includes final asphalt surfacing works that will take place from Wednesday 23 March at the western end of the Awakino Tunnel Bypass site. Twenty-four hour Stop/Go traffic management will be in place for approximately two weeks while this work takes place, and delays should be expected.

Following this, the passing lane area east of the car park will be stabilised to provide additional strength to the road structure ahead of winter. During this time, one lane of traffic will remain open in each direction. This work is to trial a technique known as foam bitumen stabilisation, ahead of further final surfacing work taking place later this year.

Contractors will also be completing resealing work on Mt Messenger, as a planned follow-up to repair work completed last month. To ensure the safety of road users and crews on site, the road will be fully closed between 10am and 2pm on Thursday 24 March.

The asphalt surfacing and resealing works are weather dependent and may be postponed due to weather.

Like many other workplaces, schools and businesses across the country, contractors are dealing with Covid-19 cases amongst their workforces, and this may cause works to be postponed or take longer than expected.

With other works taking place between New Plymouth and the Waikato region, including at Waitara and Mimi, road users are encouraged to allow plenty of time to ensure they are able to travel through the Mt Messenger area before the road closure takes place. The only alternative route is via State Highway 43, which will add significant travel time to journeys.

Waka Kotahi recommends road users check the Journey Planner ( link)) before travelling, to ensure they have the most up-to-date information.

The Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger Programme is improving safety, resilience and route availability along a 58km section of winding and narrow state highway that traverses rough terrain. Other improvements completed or underway include the Rapanui passing lanes and the Tongaporutu intersection upgrade.

Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger Programme