$447 million forecast total investment

In September 2021 a record $24.3 billion investment in Aotearoa’s land transport system was announced as part of Ngā Kaupapa Huarahi o Aotearoa (2021–24 National Land Transport Programme).

Activities funded through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) aim to make New Zealand’s roads safer and more resilient, provide you with healthier, more environmentally friendly ways to move to the places that matter to you and keep freight flowing.

A well-maintained land transport system is critical to support Taranaki’s residential and economic growth. It needs to be safe, with heavy vehicles travelling more than 75 million kms on the region’s roads each year, resilient with Taranaki having the second highest average GDP per capita, and reliable to get goods to market.

Taranaki relies on its road and rail connections to the rest of the North Island, with the economy based on dairy farming, oil and gas industries and tourism.

About $166 million will be spent on road maintenance and renewals during this NLTP period. This will be focused on addressing drainage maintenance and the resealing of roads, as well as maintaining unsealed roads to support local logging operations.

Other investment in the 2021–24 NLTP will continue on Te Ara o Te Ata – Mt Messenger Bypass and safety improvements along SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block and New Plymouth and Hawera.

Work will continue during the 2021–24 NLTP to provide viable travel options, with the region relying heavily on private vehicle use. In the coming years, the region needs to plan to develop new walking and cycling facilities and encourage greater use of these and public transport to help the transition to a low emissions economy.

Improving safety

Safety remains a key priority for the region. During the next three years, we will invest $94 million to make 78kms of state highway safer, with improvements like median and side barriers, intersection improvements and speed management. This will help reduce annual deaths and serious injuries in the region by nine.

We will continue to work on safety improvements on SH3 north of New Plymouth, between Waitara and Bell Block, installing roundabouts at high-risk intersections and median barriers. This work will focus on 6.5kms from the SH3/SH3A intersection to Waitara and cost about 28 million.

On the southern approach to New Plymouth, we are making a number of safety improvements along 9.7km of SH3 between New Plymouth and Egmont village. This work will cost about $21 million and includes a roundabout at the Mangorei Road/SH3 intersection, as well as median barriers and Rural Intersection Advisory Warning Signs at Junction Road.

From SH3/SH3A from New Plymouth to Hawera, $33.4 million is being invested along 57.4kms of the corridor to improve safety.

The package of improvements for SH43, includes sealing 12kms of road through Tangarakau Gorge and installing new stopping areas to make the route safer for tourists.

Speed management will also play a role in improving safety in the region, with a number of speed reviews planned during the 2021–24 NLTP on key routes throughout the region.

Better travel options

We are committed to working with our partners to support initiatives that encourage walking and cycling and better public transport options. Taranaki residents rely heavily on private vehicle travel, making it important to invest in safe travel choices and support the region to transition to a low-emission economy.

In the next three years, we’re planning to support communities to reduce their reliance on private vehicle travel by delivering projects that improve safety and accessibility for cyclists and walkers.

In New Plymouth, we’ll invest $300,000 to extend the cycleway and create a safe crossing point on SH45 in Spotswood, particularly for students accessing the local school, and $9 million on the New Plymouth Coastal Path, providing 13.2kms of shared path from Port Taranaki to the eastern side of Bell Block Beach.

Improving freight connections

Reliable freight routes are the life blood of Taranaki. The region relies on SH3 to get goods north to Waikato and road and rail connections south through the Manawatū to the rest of the country and international markets.

Construction will get underway on Te Ara o Te Ata, which will deliver economic and environmental benefits, improve resilience and safety through to the Central Plateau. Te Ara o Te Ata will also bring major benefits for local workers and businesses.

Over the four-year construction period, we estimate the project will generate 74 additional jobs, more than $4 million in additional salaries each year and around $25m a year in spending with Taranaki businesses for the supply of goods and services. The maintenance programme across the network will strengthen links into and out of the region. A range of safety improvement projects on the state highway network will reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured.

Under the Rail Network Investment Programme, resilience works will be carried out on the Marton–New Plymouth Line to ensure more reliable freight connections. Seven kilometres of track will be re-sleepered and track and civil infrastructure works carried out to reduce derailment risks, improve drainage, stabilise slopes and contribute to river and fish protection.

Investment highlights for 2021–24

  • Construction will start on the Te Ara o Te Ata creating a safer, more resilient connection to the Upper North Island for freight, visitors and the public.
  • SH3 Waitara to Bell Block – construction of roundabouts between SH3 Waitara to Bell Block, helping to prevent further deaths and serious injuries and providing easier access onto and off the highway for locals.
  • SH43 Forgotten World Highway – completion of a number of improvement projects on SH43 Forgotten World Highway funded through the Provincial Growth Fund and NZ Upgrade Programme. This work will improve freight connections, improve safety and resilience and increase tourism to the area.
  • Providing safer access for cyclists and pedestrians, encouraging walking and cycling to support the regions move to reduce carbon emissions.

Summary of achievements from 2018–21

  • Awakino Tunnel Bypass – completed construction
  • Completed safety and resilience works on SH3 including the Ladies Mile passing lane
  • SH44 Moturoa safety improvements – completed a new half roundabout and signalised crossing on SH45 Moturoa in New Plymouth
  • SH3 Waitara to Bell Block – initial safety improvements completed on SH3 between Waitara and Bell Block included the removal of passing lane and the installation of wide centrelines. A new 80km/h speed limit was also implemented.

Read about a few of the ways that previous investment has delivered for Taranaki communities and New Zealand.