COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information for all alert levels, Waka Kotahi services and more

SCAM ALERTS: Refund email and Vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails

ONLINE SERVICES: We currently have an issue with receiving some payments and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

EASTER WEEKEND – PLAN AHEAD: Heading away for the long weekend? Check our holiday journeys tool(external link)

Project introduction

Improving capacity between Vickers Road to Hobson Street on State Highway 3, New Plymouth.

  • Estimated project cost

    $24 million
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


Project updates

Project update - July 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update - June 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update - May 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update - March 2016
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update - February 2016
Project updates, (PDF)


To improve capacity on the Vickers Road to city section of State Highway 3.



The upgrade will relieve existing traffic congestion on this busy stretch of road, improve safety, reduce travel times, improve the reliability of travel times, support future economic growth and support ongoing land development at Bell Block and Waiwhakaiho.

About the project

Improving capacity on State Highway 3 (SH3) between Vickers Road to Hobson Street are at the heart of the Vickers to City Upgrade. To achieve this, changes will be made at seven locations on this stretch of State highway. Also, alongside the existing Waiwhakaiho and Te Henui bridges two new bridges will be built and the road will be widened to four lanes for the majority of the route.

In 2008, a number of issues were identified in a joint strategic study by the New Plymouth District Council and Transport Agency NZTA (then Transit NZ) which were responsible for causing delays and other problems on the road.

Significant issues noted were:

  • The SH3/Devon Street East and SH3/Mangorei Road intersections were nearing capacity during peak times.
  • SH3 is the only route to the north and east of New Plymouth city with no parallel network; which means there isn’t an alternative travel option if there is a major incident on the route.
  • Freight from the north relies on this route to travel between industries and Port Taranaki.
  • People travelling locally clash with the needs of regional freight passing through.
  • After the strategic study, we investigated the types of improvements that could be made and following consultation, designed a set of improvements to construct. We sought tenders for the construction of the upgrade between March and June 2014 and awarded the contract to Fulton Hogan in July 2014.

Key project features

Changes will be made at seven specific locations along State Highway 3 from Vickers Road to Hobson Street. Some key features include:

  • installing a second bridge over the Waiwhakaiho River
  • installing a second bridge over the Te Henui Stream
  • creating two lanes in each direction along most of the route
  • improving intersection layouts
  • installing painted median lanes
  • improving walking and cycling opportunities.

V2C Frequently asked questions

  • How have the plans for the road been developed?

    In 2008 a strategic study of the route was carried out by the New Plymouth District Council and the NZ Transport Agency (formerly Transit NZ). During the strategic study a variety of groups and individuals provided feedback, identifying issues with the road and suggesting how it could be improved.

    In 2010 the Transport Agency investigated a number of improvements that could be made to address the issues identified in the study and ensure that this important link with the CBD, port, industrial and residential areas support different transport needs. When investigating the improvements, the Transport Agency reviewed growth projections and identified long-term and medium-term solutions.

    In 2013 the Transport Agency asked the community to give feedback on the proposed designs. Following this feedback the designs were updated. These designs provide a medium-term solution in order to address the issues on the route, whilst also undertaking other future proofing actions such as the addition of new bridges.

  • Why are you proposing to close access to some roads?

    You may notice that a number of the plans include closing or modifying state highway connections. This is because every highway connection can cause delays or safety issues when people have to slow down to allow others time or space to turn on or off the highway at much slower speeds. You may have seen some near misses or crashes when a vehicle has tried to turn on to SH3 from a side road or driveway.

    To avoid these issues we spread out the highway connection points, and provide highway accesses that have good visibility and a high level of safety. This is why in newer road developments the NZTA has less highway access points but better layouts so people merge more easily and safely with traffic or have a separate space to turn off.

  • What are the alternative routes I can take if the turn onto or from SH3 is being closed?

    Watson Street

    • To get from Watson St (north) onto SH3 (west) you can turn onto Courtenay St, then left onto Northgate or turn onto Devon St East, right onto Mangorei Rd and then join SH3.
    • To get from SH3 (east) onto Watson St (north) you can turn onto Mangorei Rd, then left onto Devon St East and then left onto Watson St (north). Alternatively you can continue along SH3, turn right onto Eliot St and then right onto Courtenay St and then right onto Watson St (north).
    • To get from Watson St (south) onto SH3 (east) you can turn onto Lemon St (or SH3), then right onto Eliot St, right onto Courtenay St and then join SH3.
    • To get from SH3 (west) onto Watson St (south) you can turn onto Hobson St, left onto Lemon St and then turn onto Watson St (south).

    Devon St East

    • To get to the city you will be able to go west along Devon St East.

    Constance St

    • To turn onto or off SH3 you are able to take Smart Rd to connect to Constance St.
  • What is happening to the parking outside New Plymouth Girls High School?

    The parallel parking outside the high school will be removed. This will improve safety outside the school as traffic won’t be turning into or reversing out of the parking onto SH3.  We do understand that this area is used for dropping off and picking up students and we will be working with the school to safely accommodate this.

  • What is happening to the parallel parking along the route?

    In certain location along the route parallel parking will be removed. This will allow for the widening of the road and also improve safety as fewer cars will be pulling into and out of the parks. The road will be wider as a result of removing the parking. There will be sufficient space provided for vehicles pulling out of driveways to turn onto SH3 safely.

  • Will the old bridges be pulled down?

    No the existing road bridges will remain. However, the pedestrian cycle bridge at Te Henui has been taken down so the new bridge can be built. The new bridge will have two vehicle lanes and a shared cycle and pedestrian path.

  • Will there be other make changes to other sections of SH3?

    The Transport Agency is always looking to help better connect people to the things they do every day both locally and across New Zealand and will continue to review the needs of road users along SH3, particularly if the volume of traffic increases and there are issues that need to be addressed.

  • Where will the cycle route be?

    Providing improved walking and cycling facilities is another key part of this project. The proposals include on-road cycle lanes for those cyclists who want a faster and more direct route than the separate shared path facility along the coast of New Plymouth. As New Plymouth is a model cycle community New Plymouth District Council have been working closely with the Transport Agency to ensure all types of cyclists can use the route.  We will insure that where cyclists travel on the State Highway, that the facilities and speed restrictions are appropriate for their safety.

  • Will there be four lanes under the Paynters Ave overbridge?

    Yes there will be four lanes. Initial designs reduced the road to three lanes under the overbridge, due to limited space available to widen the road corridor.

    Public feedback on the initial design clearly favoured four laning in this area and the Transport Agency decided to invest in the four laning now to ensure we didn’t need to revisit the project at greater cost and disruption years down the track. The ability to widen the road to four lanes was made possible by KiwiRail's agreement to allow the Transport Agency to buy land alongside the road corridor.