Mt Messenger news makes Christmas merrier

The independent commissioner’s thumbs-up for Mt Messenger bypass resource consents is the best Christmas present Taranaki’s had for years, says the region’s key transport planning group.

“We’ve been advocating strongly for this project for years, indeed decades, directly to the Government as well as through the SH3 Working Party,” says Craig Williamson, who chairs the Regional Transport Committee. “When procedural details are settled, the way will be clear at last.”

He says the consents hearing was an important process that achieved positive results for the project and the environment. “And happily, detailed design work continued non-stop during the three months the hearing took place. That means we can expect physical work to start soon,” says Craig.

He says the project is of enormous importance both economically and socially. “It ticks all the boxes in terms of supporting livelihoods, improving lifestyles and taking Taranaki forward.”

At 5.2km, the new bypass will be 1km shorter than the existing route over the top of Mt Messenger, saving four minutes’ driving time for light vehicles and 6.5 minutes for heavy vehicles, and significantly reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. The bypass will include a 120m bridge over a wetland and a 230m tunnel.

Environmental measures include establishing a 3650-hectare pest management area, restoring 6 hectares of swamp forest and planting 200 seedlings of the same species for every tree felled. A hectare of streambank will also be protected with fences and vegetation.

The Regional Transport Committee is administered by the Taranaki Regional Council and includes representatives of all four Councils in the region and the NZ Transport Agency.