Transport Minister Simon Bridges today officially launched the Awakino Gorge to Mount Messenger Programme in Mokau.

The $135 million programme, part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme, is aimed at improving safety, resilience and efficiency along State Highway 3.

“State Highway 3 is a key priority for the Government, and is of huge importance to the region.

“This significant investment by the Government will promote economic development through a safer and more resilient route for the region.

“That’s why we’re investing in these upgrades, to better connect the Taranaki region with the Waikato and upper North Island,” Mr Bridges says.

Last month Mr Bridges announced that one of the three components, the Awakino Tunnel bypass, would feature a two-bridge bypass design. Today’s official programme launch marks the start of significant works on a second component, a series of safety and resilience improvements along State Highway 3.

A preferred option for the Mount Messenger bypass is being developed based on community input, environmental and cultural considerations, and the desired safety, resilience and journey experience benefits.

“It’s fantastic to have this long-awaited programme officially underway,” Mr Bridges says.

The Awakino Gorge to Mount Messenger Programme is funded out of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Programme, a package of funding designed to accelerate regionally important State Highway projects.

More information about the programme is available at

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