Construction of the $280 million Mt Messenger Bypass will begin in spring after a High Court ruling gave the project the green light, leaving years of legal disruption in the dust.
But Poutama Kaitiaki Charitable Trust and farmers Tony and Debbie Pascoe, who are vehemently opposed to the State Highway 3 upgrade, have indicated they are not yet ready to give up the fight.
In the latest from the courts on the 6km bypass, Judge Andru Isac has released a decision this week confirming the consents for the North Taranaki project.
It follows years of court battles involving the trust, which has unsuccessfully claimed to be tangata whenua of the Mangapekepeke Valley - the route for the bypass - and the Pascoes, whose land the highway will pass through.
An Environment Court decision previously granted consents for the project, but this was appealed by the trust and the Pascoes in the High Court at New Plymouth in October last year.
They advanced a number of arguments, including that the Environment Court failed to address the cultural effects the project would have on land and water within the area.
But Judge Isac, who reserved his decision at the conclusion of the appeal, has not upheld their concerns.
On Friday, the trust and the Pascoes released a joint statement to Open Justice detailing further legal action they would be taking.
This included challenging the legality of the notice of intention to take the Pascoes' land, under the Public Works Act 1981.
The group has also accused Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency of perjury and "fraud on the public" in relation to the bypass.
They filed a police complaint in October last year, claiming the roading agency withheld information from the public about an alternative route for the project.
"On 25 January 2022, we signed a formal statement at the Mōkau Police Station in relation to the complaint. We have been advised that the Police are now carrying out an investigation."
A police spokeswoman said they were unable to comment on whether an individual or an organisation was the subject of a police complaint or investigation.
Meanwhile, the project's construction plans are full steam ahead.
Following the High Court decision, Waka Kotahi spokeswoman Linda Stewart said preparation work would begin during autumn and construction would start in spring.
Much of the early works would be centred around the bypass' environmental activities and would include the creation of access tracks for the project's pest management programme, she said.
"Te Ara o Te Ata: Mt Messenger Bypass will increase safety for everyone travelling into and out of North Taranaki," she said.
"It will also be more resilient than the current route, standing up more effectively to the challenges posed by the local weather, ground and geographic conditions."
The project's iwi partner Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Tama welcomed the court ruling.
Chairman Paul Silich said iwi members had been looking forward to the project getting started for a long time.
"A better road through our rohe will save lives and support our Taranaki economy," he said.
"And of course, the environmental gains will see Taranaki's northernmost native forest flourish over time."
The bypass will run between Uruti and Ahititi and will include two bridges, around 125m and 30m in length, and a tunnel.
The project promises to deliver pest management across 3650ha of forest around the bypass, and restoration planting.
Over a construction period of four years and six months, it expects to generate more than 70 new jobs, around $4m in additional salaries and about $25m a year in spending with Taranaki businesses.