Safety improvement work continues on State Highway 3


Work is now underway to make the section of State Highway 3 between Mokau and Awakino Gorge safer for everyone who uses it.

Earlier this year safety improvements were also started between Mt Messenger and Mokau.

The work includes adding roadside safety barriers to prevent vehicles running off the road, removing trees and bushes to improve vision, new signs and the creation of a pull over area for drivers to rest or let other vehicles pass.

Transport Systems Manager Ross I’Anson says the improvements will pave the way for more extensive work next year, which is likely to include adding passing lanes and easing tight curves on the road.

“The highway between Awakino and Mt Messenger is a high risk stretch of road where 11 people have died and 45 have been seriously injured in crashes between 2007 and 2017,” he says.

“Most of these crashes resulted from people losing control of their vehicle and running of the road or crashing head on. Every death and serious injury on our roads is a tragedy, and these safety improvements will help prevent simple mistakes from having dire consequences.”

The work is part of the SH3 Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger Programme which will improve freight efficiency, safety, route availability and driver experience between New Plymouth and Hamilton.

The Programme is made up of three projects, which are progressing at different stages:

  • The safety improvements mentioned above
  • The Awakino Tunnel bypass: construction is expected during 2018-2020.
  • Mt Messenger bypass: construction is expected during mid 2018-20.

The safety work is part of the Government’s $600m Safer Roads and Roadsides programme which aims to make high-risk routes on the state highway network safer.