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Mt Messenger bypass is go

Mt Messenger bypass is go

Aeolus Truck & Driver News

 May 2022   

Preparatory work for a long-awaited bypass of the Mt Messenger section of State Highway 3 in North Taranaki is expected to begin soon.

A March 30 High Court decision has cleared the way for the project which will replace the narrow and winding section of State Highway 3 with a new road to the east.

The bypass will run for approximately 6km between Uruti and Ahititi and will include two bridges of approximately 125m and 30m in length as well as a 235m tunnel near the highest point of the new route.

The most recent cost estimate for the project puts the work at $280 million. A 4.5 year construction period suggests the bypass could open in 2027 if work begins later this year.

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Preparatory work for a long-awaited bypass of the Mt Messenger section of State Highway 3 in North Taranaki is expected to begin soon.

A March 30 High Court decision has cleared the way for the project which will replace the narrow and winding section of State Highway 3 with a new road to the east.

The bypass will run for approximately 6km between Uruti and Ahititi and will include two bridges of approximately 125m and 30m in length as well as a 235m tunnel near the highest point of the new route.

The most recent cost estimate for the project puts the work at $280 million. A 4.5 year construction period suggests the bypass could open in 2027 if work begins later this year.

It’s estimated the bypass will create more than 70 new jobs, approximately $4 million in additional salaries each year and around $25m a year in spending with Taranaki businesses for the supply of goods and services.

It’s been a challenging legal road for the new bypass. Consultation began in 2016 and the selected route for the bypass was announced by then Transport Minister Simon Bridges in August 2017. At that time the project had a 2021 completion date.

Environment Court consent for the project was granted on April 1 2021 but was appealed by two local groups. The March decision from Judge Andru Isac confirmed consents for the new bypass - to be known as Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass.

Waka Kotahi Director Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says the Mt Messenger Alliance charged with delivering the new bypass will begin preparatory works this autumn, ahead of a start to main construction in spring.

Much of the early works will be centred around environmental activities and will include the creation of access tracks for the project’s significant pest management programme.

Main construction will start at the southern end of the project, with earthworks and vegetation clearance. Preparing access to locations for the project’s tunnel and bridges will be a priority.

“Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass will increase safety for everyone travelling into and out of North Taranaki,” Stewart says.

“It will also be more resilient than the current route, standing up more effectively to the challenges posed by the local weather, ground and geographic conditions.

“Equally as important, the project includes a major environmental component to help us achieve our goal of leaving a lasting legacy in Taranaki, ensuring the project area is left in a better condition than before construction.”

As well as the new road the project has significant environmental elements including pest management across 3,650ha of forest on either side of the bypass. A 250km network of traps and bait stations every 100-150 metres with benefit native wildlife such as kiwi and long-tailed bats.

Restoration planting comprises 120,000 native seedlings across 32 hectares and a further 100,000 native plants along roadsides and embankments.  


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