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NZ Transport Agency – opening celebration of Bell Block
Bypass, SH3, Taranaki

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The opening of the new Bell Block bypass on State Highway 3, about 5 kilometres north of New Plymouth, will ease congestion and improve road safety, NZ Transport Agency regional director Jenny Chetwynd said.

The opening of the new Bell Block bypass on State Highway 3, about 5 kilometres north of New Plymouth, will ease congestion and improve road safety, NZ Transport Agency regional director Jenny Chetwynd said.

The 3.5km of new road separates local and highway traffic, with an interchange providing direct access to the Bell Block township and the industrial area. About 2.5km of the new road is four lanes and 1km is two lanes.

The $21 million project was officially opened by the Minister of Transport, Hon Steven Joyce this morning (12 March).

Traffic on the new stretch of highway will initially be limited to 70 km/h while work on the shoulders is completed. That work is expected to be completed in June, and the speed limit will then be increased to the usual highway maximum of 100 km/h.

Ms Chetwynd said the project was scheduled to be completed on time and within budget.

A significant archaeological excavation over 18 months, included in the budget, discovered the largest whare excavated in New Zealand and also unearthed a full gun-fighting pa. Items of value found during the excavation have been stored and will be offered back to the local iwi when reporting on the investigations is completed. Mauri stone from the whare have been put on permanent display on the corner of Devon and Smart Roads.

The previous stretch of highway will be redeveloped into a more appropriately styled local urban road. The new highway has been landscaped to link in with the New Plymouth District Council’s Airport to City corridor planting strategy.

The project included: a new highway bridge, two new underpasses, 83,000 square meters of surfacing, 100,000 cubic meters of earthworks, 50,000 cubic meters of pavement layers, and relocation of a significant number of services including trunk water mains, gas pipelines and main telecommunication cables.

NZTA media contact:
Ann Howarth
F +64 4 894 6403 or M + 64 27 213 7617
E ann.howarth@nzta.govt.nz

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