Manawatu Gorge replacement highway drives forward

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 13, 2020

Site work is soon to begin on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatu Tararua Highway, the project to replace the former SH3 route through the Manawatu Gorge, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said.

Twyford was in Woodville this week at the signing of a formal agreement by members of the alliance delivering the design and construction of the $620 million project – the NZ Transport Agency, Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction, Aurecon and WSP.

Twyford said today‘s signing is a major step forward for the much-needed replacement to the Manawatu Gorge route that‘s been closed since 2017.

“Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatu Tararua Highway will reconnect Manawatu, Tararua District, Hawke‘s Bay and northern Wairarapa, as well as restore a vital link for locals, travellers and businesses across the North Island.

“It will also help with the region‘s economic recovery. The project will create hundreds of jobs and has a target to employ more than 60 percent local workers. This will have huge benefits for the region with their people being upskilled and getting money in their pockets when they need it most.”                                                                                                      

Twyford said the team is also working closely with iwi, stakeholders and local government to protect the environment as much as possible. The project will plant 46ha of native forest, rehabilitate 32km of streams, protect 48ha of existing forest and manage the pest control of 300ha of forest reserve.

“I also want to acknowledge the Alliance‘s and NZTA‘s partnership with local iwi who are represented and deeply involved in the governance and operations of the project. Through having strong local partnerships and mandating good social outcomes, this project is setting a great example for other upcoming major infrastructure projects.”

The Project Alliance Agreement outlines how the project – comprising 11.5km of new highway between Ashhurst and Woodville, with seven bridges and structures, and a shared path for walkers and cyclists – will be constructed and opened to the public by the end of 2024.

Subject to consent approval, enabling works such as the creation of access tracks and water reservoirs will begin in October 2020, with main construction beginning in January 2021.