Te Ara o Te Ata cableway certified


It’s not every day you see a 16-tonne excavator flying through the air.

But that’s exactly what’s been happening at the site of the future Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass, signalling completion of the project’s innovative cableway.

The 1.1 kilometre cableway will transport workers, machinery and materials safely north into the remote heart of the project area.

The structure is a key part of the work Waka Kotahi is doing to create a safer and more resilient 6km section of SH3 in North Taranaki, while also delivering major long-term environmental gains including pest management over 3,650ha of surrounding forest.

Waka Kotahi Central North Island Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery Rob Partridge says it’s great to have the cableway completed, so the Mt Messenger Alliance can make a fast start to works in the next construction season, starting in September.

Mr Partridge says the cableway helps the project to tread lightly on the land – one of the main priorities. It helps to minimise the impact of the project on the surrounding environment.

“As we close out the current season the team will be using the cableway over the next few weeks - transporting workers and materials for the establishment of areas for storage and the delivery of large machinery such as excavators.

“We’ll get these preparatory works done now so we can really make some good progress after winter in the area north of the project’s 235m tunnel.”

The cableway can carry up to 20 tonnes and rises to 64 metres at the highest point from the valley floor.

It can also be adjusted to serve different purposes, for example – on one trip it might be transporting an excavator, while on the next trip the gondola cabin could be attached to transport people to site. 

“In addition to our goal of building a safer, more reliable and more resilient stretch of road, restoration and environmental protection is very much at the forefront of the project.

“The project’s enduring pest management commitment over 3,650 hectares is part of a broader environmental programme for Te Ara o Te Ata, which seeks to leave the area in a better condition than its current state.

“The programme will also deliver large areas of restoration planting, to offset the native vegetation removed to build the road and lessen the effects of construction on the local ecology.

“Thirty-two hectares of forest, wetland and riparian planting will be undertaken, comprising approximately 120,000 plants. A further 100,000-plus plants will be planted along the roadside margins and embankments, with all seedlings grown from locally sourced seed.

The cableway is allowing us to start work in this area of the new route alignment much sooner than would otherwise have been possible,” says Mr Partridge.

Photos of Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger cableway—the first of its kind for a New Zealand roading project: