Thursday, July 18, 2024

Historic Taranaki road project gets underway

Taranaki’s largest ever roads project, Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass, is officially underway.

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 the project.

“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,” Mr 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 Minister said.

“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,” Mr McAnulty said.

“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,” Mr McAnulty said.

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