State Highway 3 is an important connection between New Plymouth, Waitara and beyond. It connects the Taranaki and Waikato regions, providing an important link for Port Taranaki, the New Plymouth Airport and major industries to the rest of the upper North Island.
Busy intersections, speed and roadside hazards like power poles and ditches cause safety issues on the road. There were 101 crashes on this route between 2009 and 2018. Seven people died and 14 people were seriously injured.
Many of these crashes happened at intersections or involved drivers running off the road and hitting trees, power poles and deep ditches. There have also been head-on and side-on crashes.
Traffic is increasing on this part of SH3 which is causing delays, particularly for commuters. Anticipated residential and business growth in the area is expected to increase traffic which will create more congestion and make it difficult for drivers to get on the highway.
Following engagement with key stakeholders and the community, early safety improvements were carried out in February 2019. Further improvements including wide centrelines were implemented early 2021.