Mt Messenger bypass vital for Taranaki

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 20, 2018

Plans for a Mt Messenger bypass on State Highway 3 in North Taranaki are vital for the road transport industry and the people of the region says the National Road Carriers Association.

The NRC has made submissions to the New Plymouth District Council supporting planning approval for the proposed 6 km route, which would bypass the current 7.4 km piece of road.

The planned bypass would be safer, cut out a 350 km detour when the Mt Messenger road is closed, and make Taranaki much more accessible to and from the Waikato says the NRC.

The current road is narrow, with many tight bends and gradients of up to 12 percent and a tunnel that is not big enough to accommodate oversize loads. It was originally built 90 years ago.

The new road through a parallel valley to the current route would have maximum gradients of 7.5 percent, wider lanes and gentle curves.

Both the tourism and transport industry would benefit from the bypass, says NRC CEO, David Aitken.

“The road is often closed by slips and crashes,” says Aitken. “In icy and wet conditions some trucks can‘t get enough traction to get up the hill.”

The alternative when the road is not passable is via Wanganui and SH4, which can add up to $1000 extra in transport costs for a single journey. Using the longer route, it is not possible to do a return trip to and from the Waikato in a day. At present as many as 400 trucks a day use the Mt Messenger road.

A modern, engineered road will halve emissions from heavy transport on that section of road says the NRC.

“The Mt Messenger bypass will benefit all businesses in Taranaki that rely on road transport,” says Aitken. “There will be greater connectivity to the north and the bypass fits within the Government‘s safer journeys plan to improve travel efficiency, increase safety and reduce travel times.”

Aitken says the bypass offers a much greater route security for the health and wellbeing of all road users, freight connections and tourism and is strategically important for the region.