Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced the route for a bypass of the Awakino Tunnel and the next steps for the Mt Messenger bypass project.

“State Highway 3 is a key priority for the Government. That’s why we’re investing $135 million to provide a better and more resilient connection between the Taranaki Region and the upper North Island,” Mr Bridges says.

“A two-bridge bypass of Awakino Tunnel has been selected that was also the favoured option by the public. Design and consenting work will now commence ahead of construction.

“The community strongly favoured improved safety, resilience and journey experience as key priorities along the route.

“We will be delivering a package of safety and resilience improvements along the 58km stretch of highway that includes; road widening, intersection improvements, passing opportunities, road realignments and slope stability.

“Further work is needed before a preferred option for the Mt Messenger bypass project can be confirmed. Feedback strongly supported Option 3, the bypass route, but some concerns about environmental and cultural impacts were raised,” Mr Bridges says.

The Transport Agency is now reviewing the concerns raised and will work with community leaders to develop an option for the Mt Messenger bypass.

“The final solution will balance the desired safety, resilience and journey experience benefits with acceptable environmental and cultural effects,” Mr Bridges says.

It is expected that an announcement on the preferred option for Mt Messenger will be made in August this year.

The project is part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme which is designed to speed up delivery of important regional transport projects.


SH3 - Awakino Tunnel To Mt Messenger safety & resilience project graphic SH3 - Awakino Tunnel Bypass artist impression

Notes to Editors

An Alliance team including NZ Transport Agency, Downer, HEB Construction, Tonkin & Taylor, Opus International Ltd, Holmes Consulting and Isthmus, has been appointed. The Mt Messenger Alliance will work collaboratively with key stakeholders to help take the project forward to determine the preferred option and obtain consents, design and build the route.

The NZ Transport Agency carried out a public consultation from November 2016 to early January 2017 on options for the three projects making up the Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger Programme. The three projects are:


Dates for construction

Mt Messenger bypass

2018 to 2020

Awakino Tunnel bypass

2018 to 2020

Safety and resilience improvements

2017 to 2019

The consultation report, information about the preferred options and next steps for the Awakino Gorge to Mt Messenger Programme can be found at:

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