Construction starts on Taranaki’s largest ever roading project

Associate Minister of Transport Kieran McAnulty was joined this morning by Ngāti Tama, local councillors and board members, project representatives, and community to mark the official start of construction on Taranaki’s largest ever roading project, Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass.

“The work started today will make sure the people of Taranaki have a more resilient, safe, and reliable route in and out of North Taranaki,” Kieran McAnulty said.

“This route is critical to the region’s economy as it provides a safe and direct connection to Waikato for freight and travel.

“The construction of Te Ara o Te Ata will bring massive benefits to the Taranaki region through additional jobs and spending in the local economy. The project is expected to create more than 70 added jobs, and around $25m a year in spending with Taranaki businesses.

“The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport infrastructure to future proof the network for future generations to come, securing New Zealand’s economy and supporting our regions to thrive.

“Delivering on projects such as Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass helps address our current infrastructure deficit, improve road safety, and meet our future needs caused by population growth and climate change.

“Te Ara o Te Ata is a key part of the Government’s investment of over $422 million in Taranaki roading.

“There’s been a huge amount of work put in by project mana whenua partners Ngāti Tama, contractors, local government, community, Waka Kotahi, and Te Ara o Te Ata Alliance: Mt Messenger to get to this point. Thank you to everyone who has been involved and supported this partnership.

“All organisation involved have had a focus on the impact of construction on the surrounding environment and how that can be balanced to make sure the area is left in a better condition than it is now.”

The project will include an ongoing pest management programme to support the forest to recover from damage caused by rats, stoats, and possums, and make sure threatened species such as long-tailed bats and kiwi can thrive again. The work also includes the planting of 32ha of forest, wetland and riparian to offset native vegetation that will have to be removed to build the road.

“Resilient roading networks are crucial for the economy and wellbeing of all regions, and especially for rural communities. There’s still work to do to catch up on decades of underfunding, but the work started today continues our track record of making sure Kiwis can travel on safe and reliable roads,” Kieran McAnulty said.