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Project introduction

There’s been a high number of crashes on State Highway 3 (SH3) between Waitara and Bell Block so we’ll be making some changes to help save lives. Over the next few years we’ll build roundabouts at high-risk intersections along the route and add sections of median barrier.

  • Estimated project cost

    $82 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status

    Design

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Stormwater works

Stormwater works were completed in early December 2022, clearing the way for construction of the SH3 Princess Street roundabout and pedestrian underpass to begin in early 2023.

The new 950-metre pipe that has been installed will carry stormwater runoff from the Princess Street roundabout when it’s built and will also help to address flooding issues around Princess and Rahiri Streets.

In mid-2023, a stormwater outfall will be constructed where water is safely discharged into the Waitara Awa (River).

SH3 Princess Street roundabout

Construction on the SH3 Princess Street roundabout and pedestrian underpass will begin in early 2023.

The SH3 Princess Street roundabout is being built first because this intersection has the highest crash rate. There were 17 crashes at this intersection between 2017 and 2021 – more than any of the other intersections between Waitara and Bell Block. The new roundabout will make this intersection much safer for the Waitara community and everyone using the road.

Construction on the SH3 Waitara Road roundabout is due to begin in late 2023, followed by construction of the De Havilland Drive and SH3A/Mountain Road roundabouts in 2024.

Background

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.

SH3 Waitara to Bell Block speed review

Following public consultation new safer speed limits were implemented on this stretch of road in December 2020, making the speed limit a consistent 80km/h along the entire route.

Roundabout concepts