Motorists are now able to see a 1.1km cableway being erected at a former rest area at the top of Mt Messenger on State Highway 3, in north Taranaki.
Two 28-metre high legs for the structure have gone up this week. It will be used to take workers, machinery and equipment into the centre of the Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass project site.
Waka Kotahi Principal Project Manager Chris Nally said erecting the cableway was a significant milestone for the $280 million project.
“What it does – it gives us access into a critical part of the project in the centre of the site, which is very hard to access.
“This cableway allows us to get in there with our equipment and our men without having to cut tracks through the native bush.”
He said the use of a cableway was unique for a roading project.
“This type of access is used for other types of work, for example on skifields, or even as far back as the Clyde Dam, but this is a first for a roading project.
“It allows us to get cracking on with this job that we’ve been waiting a number of years to get underway.”
Two more tower legs would be built before cable was run between the tower and anchor points to the north and south.
Nally said the innovative structure was a key part of the wider project to create a safer and more reliable 6km section of State Highway 3 in North Taranaki, while delivering significant long-term environmental gains, including pest management over 3650 hectares of adjacent ngahere (forest).
The cableway was due to begin operation next year.
The Mt Messenger bypass project has been the subject of lengthy legal battles. Opponents of the bypass want the existing road upgraded, in preference to the new route which involves the loss of 30 hectares of native forest.
Ngāti Tama, who were recognised as mana whenua of the area in which the road was going through, had given the project their blessing.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz