Creating a safe, resilient, and reliable transport network that supports Taranaki’s export-based economy and growing communities is a key investment focus of the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

SH3 is relied on for regional connections and to the rest of the North Island. Significant works are planned to address safety issues on SH3 between New Plymouth and Hāwera, and the new Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass and safety improvements between Waitara and Bell Block will provide a more resilient, safer journey through to the Waikato region.

Alongside exports, tourism plays an important role in growing Taranaki’s economy. The region’s mountain, beaches and forests, together with events such as WOMAD and the Taranaki Garden Festival, are attracting growing numbers of visitors, making it a priority to provide safe, efficient, and reliable access to the region’s attractions. 

The programme of improvements for the Forgotten World Highway SH43 supports the region’s economic development strategy Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki by making it easier and safer for people to experience this iconic journey.

Taranaki is now home to more than 117,000 people. Population growth pressures remain steady with the New Plymouth district classified as a high-growth area. South Taranaki is also seeing population growth. We are working with our partners to create a transport system that provides safe access for communities and encourages walking and cycling.  

Improving the quality and reliability of the state highway network for the region, which carries a high volume of freight, is a key priority with $102 million being invested in maintenance and operations this year.

Completed in the last 12 months

  • A 950m stormwater pipe was installed along SH3. The pipe will carry runoff from the new Princess Street roundabout once it’s complete and help to address current flooding issues around Rahiri and Princess Street.
  • A bumper maintenance programme was completed over the summer, significantly improving the safety and resilience of the state highway network. Almost 10 lane kms of state highway were rebuilt, 10 lane kms were asphalted and 75 lane kms were resealed across 107 sites.

Underway or about to start

  • Construction of the roundabout and pedestrian underpass at the SH3/Princess Street intersection started, with completion expected by the end of 2024. This is the first of four roundabouts being built as part of Te Ara Tūtohu: SH3 Waitara to Bell Block safety improvements.
  • In late 2022, we consulted on proposed changes to speed limits on some sections of SH3, SH3A, SH44 and SH45 across Taranaki. Feedback is being considered and an update is expected soon.
  • Construction of a new bridge over Kahouri Stream, east of Stratford on SH43, began in June 2023.The project is part of the programme of works, funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit and the regional allocation of the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP).
  • Enabling works for sealing the remaining 10km section through the Tāngarākau Gorge on the Forgotten World Highway SH43 will be completed in 2023-24. Sealing of the remaining 10km is scheduled for the 2024-25 summer construction season.
  • Consultation was completed and the design is now being refined on improvements to safety and access for pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection of Devon Street West SH45, Belair Avenue and Bayley Street in New Plymouth. Funded by Waka Kotahi, the project is being delivered by New Plymouth District Council.
  • Work on Te Ara o Te Ata: Mount Messenger Bypass made good progress, completing a first full construction season. The project’s innovative cableway was built and 190km of pest management tracks were created in surrounding ngahere.
  • A feasibility study for safety improvements on SH3A and SH3, between Egmont Village and Hāwera, was completed. Work is underway to install sections of median barrier along the route by June 2024.
  • Safety improvements for the Forgotten World Highway SH43, funded through the regional allocation of NZUP, continued with three roadside safety barriers, located near Toko, at Whangamomona, and Aukopae, installed during September and October 2022. Further barriers are currently being installed at other locations along the route.
  • Safety improvements will begin soon on SH3 between New Plymouth and Egmont Village, including a new roundabout at the intersection of Mangorei Road and SH3 and sections of median barrier.
  • Work to extend New Plymouth’s shared coastal walkway to Waitara is scheduled to start later in 2023 at Otupaiia/Marine Park.
  • Designs for creating safe access points for pedestrians at two locations on SH3 in Stratford are being progressed.
  • Design work for a pedestrian crossing in Waverley, south of Hāwera, is being progressed.
  •  A new raised pedestrian platform will be built on SH45 at Spotswood College to provide safer access for students.

Funding overview

NLTP - Taranaki

Investment in 2022/23

Forecast investment    for 2021-24


$204 million

$573 million

Maintenance and operations

$102 million

$250 million

Public transport investment

$5.3 million

$15 million

Walking and cycling

$3.3 million

$23 million

Road to Zero (safety)

$16 million

$87 million

Network improvements

$75 million

$165 million


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