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Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger says planning work for major improvements to State Highway 3 at Mt Messenger and Awakino is now underway.

Ms Kuriger joined Transport Minister Hon Simon Bridges to visit the Mt Messenger and Awakino Gorge Corridor sites to benefit from the Government’s $130 million investment.

“We heard the good news about this project’s approval recently, and I’m very pleased to see the work on the table and in progress now,” Ms Kuriger said.

“This bit of state highway is a vital link between Waikato and Taranaki, and it’s got to put up with some fairly full-on weather conditions, which can make things challenging and unpredictable in the winter months.

“Added reliability and safety are two of the headline benefits this work is going to bring to the area. A better-moving State Highway 3 is a plus for all concerned,” Ms Kuriger said.

Improvements to the section of State Highway 3 from Mt Messenger to the Awakino Gorge are part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package programme, announced by the Prime Minister in 2014.

The Government is spending $80-$90 million to build a bypass of Mt Messenger as well as $9-$15 million on a bypass of the Awakino Tunnel. Last year the Government announced $25 to $30 million worth of safety improvements on the stretch of road between Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge.

The project team is currently working on the early stages of consent preparation and stakeholder consultation. Construction of the full project is scheduled to begin next year and will take approximately three years to complete.

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