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Project introduction

A bypass of Mt Messenger on SH3 in northern Taranaki is a key part of a wider programme of work including the Awakino Tunnel Bypass and a suite of safety and resilience improvements between the Awakino Gorge and Mt Messenger.

  • Estimated project cost

    $280 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status

    Consenting

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Overview

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.

The bypass is a new 6km route from Uruti to Ahititi that avoids the existing steep, narrow and winding route over Mt Messenger on State Highway 3. It includes two bridges of approximately 125m and 30m length, and a 235m tunnel. The route will be lower and less steep than the existing road. A substantial environmental restoration programme is also a key feature of the project.

A consents process is progressing, and construction is expected to start in 2022 and take 4.5 years.

Conceptual flyover of Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass

The bypass is a new 6km route from Uruti to Ahititi that avoids the existing steep, narrow and winding route over Mt Messenger on State Highway 3 in Taranaki. It includes two bridges of approximately 125m and 30m in length, and a 235m tunnel. The route will be lower and less steep than the existing road. A substantial environmental restoration programme is also a key feature of the project.

Restoring natural diversity — an enduring legacy for Mt Messenger

An extensive and enduring environmental programme is part of the plan to build a bypass of Mt Messenger in North Taranaki. Central to the programme is managing pests over 3,650 hectares of Ngāti Tama rohe.

The project’s environmental programme  

Videos 

Partnering with Ngāti Tama

Estimated project cost Funding source Construction

$280 million

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

2022 to 2026

Map

Benefits

The main objectives of the bypass are to:

  • reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes
  • reduce the number and duration of road closures
  • improve journey time predictability
  • improve drivers’ experience along SH3.

Who we are

The Mt Messenger Alliance brings together Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Downer, HEB Construction, Tonkin & Taylor and WSP.

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.

Partnering with Ngāti Tama

Our relationship with Ngāti Tama began in 2016 when we approached them as manawhenua of the rohe surrounding the Mt Messenger section of SH3, to become involved in the project. Ngāti Tama representatives were involved in a two-step assessment process to select preferred options for improving the road.

Our relationship has strengthened over time.

We continue to work closely with Te Rūnanga. In 2020, Ngāti Tama members voted in favour of agreements with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, allowing land needed for the bypass to be exchanged.

More about our partnership with Ngāti Tama

Our journey

Initial investigations on SH3 were carried out in the 1970s and 1980s by the Ministry of Works and Development for the National Roads Board. Since then a few studies and investigations have been completed.

A business case confirmed there are ongoing safety, route availability and travel time issues, due to poor road layout along SH3 between Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge. Poor route configuration has resulted in a number of deaths, serious injuries and road closures over recent years.

A programme of work began 2016 to improve safety, resilience and route availability along the 58km section of SH3. Consultation occurred with local communities and other key stakeholders on options for bypasses of the Awakino Tunnel and Mt Messenger along with safety and resilience improvements between Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge.

The Mt Messenger Bypass project carried out public engagement providing an update on options to stakeholders in June 2017. The selected option for the new route was announced in August that year. Investigations continue and a consenting process is ongoing.