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Mt Messenger Bypass

Great journeys connect people and places and enable us to move goods and services safely and efficiently.

The Mt Messenger Bypass [JPG, 543 KB] on State Highway 3 (SH3) is planned to deliver better road safety, resilience and journey experience.

It is 5.2km long with additional work at the southern end creating about 6km of improvements and runs east of the existing highway (identified as Option C in the June 2017 public engagement). It includes a bridge about 110m long and an estimated 230m long tunnel under the ridgeline south-east of Mt Messenger. A consents process is underway and construction is expected to occur during 2019–2022.

The project includes a substantial environmental programme that includes intensive, multi-species pest management over an area of 3,650 ha [JPG, 409 KB], restoration planting and reducing the risk of harm to native wildlife during and after construction of the road.


Who we are

The Mt Messenger Alliance brings together the NZ Transport Agency, Downer, HEB Construction, Tonkin & Taylor, WSP Opus, Holmes Consulting and Isthmus.

Collectively we bring national and international experience in infrastructure development.

Our team is made up of transport designers, engineers with geometric, geotechnical, structural and construction expertise, RMA planners and environmental specialists including ecologists, landscape architects and stakeholder and communication professionals.


What’s happening

An Environment Court hearing in July 2019 considered appeals to the project’s resource consents and the Notice of Requirement (NOR). The Environment Court released an interim decision(external link) on 19 December 2019. The Court indicated that it will be in a position to issue a final decision following Ngāti Tama’s decision on whether to enter an agreement with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to acquire the necessary land to build the bypass. Ngāti Tama is working through its own processes to finalise that decision.

Some appeals have been made to the High Court on the Environment Court’s interim decision. It is expected that a hearing will be held on 26 - 28 August 2020.

Independent Hearing Commissioner Stephen Daysh released his decision and recommendation on the Mt Messenger Bypass Project on 10 December 2018. He granted the resource consents for the project and recommended to the NZ Transport Agency that the Notice of Requirement (NOR) be confirmed. The Commissioner's decision and recommendation are subject to conditions on both the resource consents and the designation.

Read the media release

You can find the commissioner’s decision and all information related to the consenting process on the New Plymouth District Council website(external link)



We carried out a consultation to gauge the views of the public and other stakeholders  in 2016/17 about three route options for Mt Messenger. Community participation was high and while feedback strongly supported one of the bypass routes [PDF, 9.4 MB], concerns about its environmental and cultural impacts were raised. In June 2017 we provided an update on route options, which included five proposed routes.

In August 2017 a new bypass route was selected.(external link) It is located east of SH3 [JPG, 748 KB]

Estimated project cost Funding source Construction

$200 million

Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme and the National Land Transport Programme 2015–18

2020 to 2024

If you would like to receive updates on the project, subscribe to our newsletter(external link).


Facets of the project

There are many facets to the project that involve building the bypass. These include design that respects the landscape setting and cultural values, improving the natural environment, and boosting the regional economy.

Local man leaning against car at a petrol station

A better and safer highway

The bypass offers a range of safety, resilience and route reliability benefits along with environmental and regional economic gains.

Download factsheet [PDF, 263 KB]

New Zealand native bush

Pest management area

Intensive and enduring pest management will help to significantly improve the natural environment.

Download factsheet [PDF, 561 KB]

Woman looking through binoculars

Kiwi, bats, lizards, plants and freshwater ecology

An ecology programme has been established to reduce harm to native wildlife and plants during and after the bypass construction.

Download factsheet [PDF, 254 KB]

Native New Zealand ferns

Restoration planting

Restoration planting will help offset native vegetation removed to build the road.

Download factsheet [PDF, 580 KB]

Aerial view of Taranaki region

Landscape design

A Landscape and Environmental Framework guides design and construction work with respect to the surrounding landscape.

Download factsheet [PDF, 246 KB]

View looking over towards Mt Taranaki

Cultural expression

Integrating cultural expression and project design recognises the importance of the spiritual and physical environment for Māori.

Download factsheet [PDF, 319 KB]

Water splash


Ngāti Tama has an important kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role over their rohe and a Kaitiaki Forum Group will be established.

Download factsheet [PDF, 134 KB]

Smiling construction worker

Growing our economy

Improving State Highway 3 can support tourism growth and potentially boost the local economy providing opportunities for employment, training and services.

Download factsheet [PDF, 233 KB]

Project maps

Mt Messenger Bypass

Illustrated map showing the Mt Messenger Bypass route.Download map [JPG, 543 KB]

Pest management area

Illustrated map showing the pest management area of the Mt Messenger Bypass project.Download map [JPG, 409 KB]