Stretch of SH3 at Waitara to close for Te Ara Tūtohu safety improvement work


Work is progressing at the site of Te Ara Tūtohu: Waitara to Bell Block safety improvements project and contractors are getting set to continue to the next stage.

This will include improved stormwater drainage, road widening and construction of the northbound lane of the Princess Street roundabout and pedestrian underpass.

To enable the next stage of work to be completed, SH3 will be closed between Nelson Street and Bayly Street from 11 December to 2 February. The road will be closed to both lanes of traffic at all times, with a detour in place through Waitara.

During the closure:

Northbound traffic will be detoured onto Nelson Street, continuing on to McLean Street and North Street, turning right onto Princess Street, left onto Bayly Street before re-joining SH3.

Southbound traffic will be detoured onto Bayly Street, right onto Princess Street, left onto North Street and continuing onto McLean Street and Nelson Street before re-joining SH3.

Princess Street through the intersection with SH3, and a small section of the southbound lane on Rahiri St, will be reduced to one lane under stop/go traffic management with a 30km/h temporary speed limit in place. People should expect delays of five minutes.

In addition to progressing safety improvements, crews will be installing a watermain for New Plymouth District Council, ensuring the council doesn’t have to return at a later date to install this crucial piece of infrastructure. The council watermain will connect to the one installed last year.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Rob Partridge says the decision to close a section of any state highway isn’t taken lightly.

“We know a full closure of the State Highway and detour for this length of time isn’t ideal. However, closing this stretch of state highway for a period of approximately 8 weeks enables us to shorten the construction timeframe and avoid the need to have a single direction detour in place for 6 - 8 months.”

“The project is an important one for the area, it’s a busy part of the region, and it’s growing – we need the area to be safer for all road users, pedestrians and cyclists – these safety works are part of the solution,” says Mr Partridge.

“Contractors are working with the community in Waitara and New Plymouth District Council to ensure the detour is safe during the state highway closure.

“For everyone’s safety, crews are implementing temporary 30km/h speed limits and pedestrian crossings on the detour route. We will also be closely monitoring trucks travelling the detour route and working with freight companies to ensure trucks aren’t using engine breaks.

During the work, emergency services will be permitted access through the road closure at all times. 

“We can’t do this work without the support of New Plymouth District Council, the Waitara community and road users in the area. We really do appreciate that support as we work to make the area safer for everyone – something we’ve been told at previous community meetings that many people want.”

Te Ara Tūtohu: Waitara to Bell Block

The safety upgrade to State Highway 3 between Waitara and Bell Block just north of New Plymouth will see new roundabouts built at the intersections of Princess Street, Waitara Road, SH3A (Mountain Road) and De Havilland Drive, along with other safety improvements, such as flexible median barriers.

Many of the crashes on SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block are head-on or at intersections so the combination of median barrier and roundabouts will significantly reduce the risk of these types of crashes.

This Stage 3 work is expected to finish in mid-2024. Following this, the last phase of work (Stage 4) can begin.  This involves landscaping, sand blasting cultural expression on the walls of the underpass, completion of asphalt surfacing, road markings, installation of permanent signage and removal of the traffic management at the site.

The safety improvements are delivering to New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero 2020 – 2030, which aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40% by 2030.

For further information about Te Ara Tūtohu, please visit the project page to sign up to email updates.

Te Ara Tūtohu: Waitara to Bell Block project page

Safety improvements project work and detour map through Waitara.