Great journeys connect people and places and enable us to move goods and services safely and efficiently.
The Mt Messenger Bypass 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 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.
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.
|Estimated project cost||Funding source||Construction|
Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme and the National Land Transport Programme 2015–18
2018 to 2022
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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.
You can find the commissioner’s decision and all information related to the consenting process on the New Plymouth District Council website(external link)
An Environment Court hearing is scheduled for the weeks starting 15 and 22 July 2019 to consider appeals to the project’s RMA consents and the Notice of Requirement (NOR).
Over the summer of 2018/19 our ecology team searched for long-tailed bats, a critically endangered species, in the Mt Messenger area to locate their maternity roosts (places where mother bats and their young stay). With the help of bat experts, they successfully found over 14 maternity roosts.
Monitoring long-tailed bats is being done to confirm the project’s 3,650ha Pest Management Area (PMA) and its suitability for the habitat of long-tailed bats. The PMA is part of a broader ecological restoration package to mitigate and offset environmental impacts 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.
The bypass offers a range of safety, resilience and route reliability benefits along with environmental and regional economic gains.
Intensive and enduring pest management will help to significantly improve the natural environment.
An ecology programme has been established to reduce harm to native wildlife and plants during and after the bypass construction.
Restoration planting will help offset native vegetation removed to build the road.
A Landscape and Environmental Framework guides design and construction work with respect to the surrounding landscape.
Integrating cultural expression and project design recognises the importance of the spiritual and physical environment for Māori.
Ngāti Tama has an important kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role over their rohe and a Kaitiaki Forum Group will be established.
Improving State Highway 3 can support tourism growth and potentially boost the local economy providing opportunities for employment, training and services.