Next steps on Mt Messenger and Awakino improvements

21 Nov 2016, 2:26 PM

NZ Transport Agency Media Release

Consultation is about to start to advance designs for the Mt Messenger and Awakino Tunnel bypass projects, along with other safety and resilience improvements for State Highway 3.

NZ Transport Agency Central Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says these projects aim to improve safety, reliability and create a more resilient transport network for the 58 km stretch of State Highway 3 from Awakino Gorge to Mount Messenger.

The Awakino Tunnel and Mt Messenger bypass projects will be funded as part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package, while the corridor-wide improvements are funded from the National Land Transport Programme 2015-18.

“The route options we’re starting consultation on offer different benefits including safer, easier and more reliable journeys. The proposals also consider environmental and cultural factors. The options are the result of rigorous investigations so far, but it’s essential as part of this work to hear the voices of local communities and other road users to help shape and select the most suitable route options.

“We’re encouraging local communities, iwi, businesses, freight organisations and others to make their views known by participating in drop-in sessions in New Plymouth, Urenui, Mokau and Te Kuiti. Alternatively people will be able to provide feedback by making online submissions via our website,” Ms Bleakley says.

State Highway 3 is the main route between Taranaki and Waikato and a vital link between the regions.

“This investment in State Highway 3 will provide a better and more resilient route for goods and services from Taranaki manufacturers and exporters to the markets and ports of the upper North Island. It will support growth and help the region continue its economic growth.

“Lonely Planet has recently named Taranaki as the one of best regions in the world to visit, so having a safe and resilient route into the region from the north will help make it even more attractive to local and overseas visitors,” Ms Bleakley says.

From Friday 25 November, information about the options will be available on the NZ Transport Agency website proposals will be on display at community drop-in sessions and Transport Agency staff will be there to explain the options and answer any questions. The consultation feedback will be combined with other stakeholder information and technical analysis to help inform the options for the final proposed design.

The community consultation on options closes on 6 January 2017.

Dates for drop-in sessions


Session times


Mon 5 Dec

5pm – 7:30pm

Alexandra Room, TSB Showplace, 92-100 Devon Street,
New Plymouth

Tue 6 Dec

11am – 1pm

Mud Bay Café, 18 Ngakoti Street, Urenui

Tue 6 Dec

3:30pm – 5pm

5pm – 7pm

St John's Hall, 16 North Street, Mokau

Wed 7 Dec

3pm – 7pm

Les Munro Centre, Supper Room, 8 King Street, Te Kuiti

Current anticipated construction dates for each project are:

  • 2017 to 2019 – Safety and resilience improvements
  • 2018 to 2020 – Awakino Tunnel bypass

2018 to 2020 – Mt Messenger bypass.