Wellington Scoop

Uncertainty ends: preferred route chosen for new Otaki to Levin highway

News from NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency has announced that the preferred corridor for the new 24.2 kilometre Ōtaki to north of Levin road is one that runs closest to State Highway 1 and, in the northern section, alongside State Highway 57. The preferred corridor is a combination of two options that received support during community engagement – S6 in the south and N4 in the north.

The Transport Agency’s Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says the preferred corridor was selected following engagement with the community and takes into account, among a number of other factors, the views of people who live, work and travel in the area.

“We also carried out additional ecological, heritage, social, noise, and vibration assessments following questions raised by the community, and these have helped shape our way forward,” Ms Speight says.

“The selected corridor will provide a shorter route than other options, and is more accessible to urban areas. Of all the routes considered, this one is expected to shift the most traffic off the existing SH1.

“We greatly appreciate people’s patience as we’ve worked through this process and recognise the frustration that the uncertainty has caused.

“We’ve been in touch with all of the property owners that were potentially affected by the range of shortlisted corridor options, to inform them of the decision.

“Subject to funding approval, we’ll be working with property owners, stakeholders and the community throughout 2019 and early 2020 as we further investigate and progress design of the road, within the preferred corridor.

“Improved public transport for the region will also be investigated, which could include rail connections, park and ride facilities, and bus service improvements.”

Work is also continuing on short and medium term safety improvements on the state highway network through Horowhenua and Kāpiti.

“These safety improvements will initially focus on speed management, road marking, signs, and enforcement, followed by infrastructure measures such as barriers,” Ms Speight says.

“Our priority is to ensure we have a safer transport network free of death and injury. The Ōtaki to north of Levin project will enhance the safety and resilience of the transport network, improving access to Levin while also ensuring value for money.”

Press Release – Kapiti Coast District Council
Kāpiti Coast District Council Mayor K Gurunathan is welcoming news that community connections, resilience and safety for the Kāpiti District are all set to improve, following a decision on the final expressway route from Ōtaki to north of Levin.

The NZ Transport Agency made the official announcement today.

“This next step to provide a smooth and safe road corridor through the length of our district is vital for both the health and wealth of our community, and our wider region,” Mayor Gurunathan says.

“We’ll now be connected as seamlessly as possible to our neighbours to the north and south, and them to us.

“That will bring both economic and social benefit to our communities. It will mean greater attractiveness and ease for business, as well as enhanced confidence of our people to be able to access the health and other social services they may need.”

Mayor Gurunathan also acknowledged the safety improvements the future new route would bring to road users north of Ōtaki and joined Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen in welcoming the preferred route decision.

Construction is not expected to start for a number of years depending on growth and national road funding priorities. In the meantime Mayor Gurunathan said both councils have been working with the Agency to address the serious recent crash issues on the existing State Highway 1 between Ōtaki and Foxton. A meeting was held last week on immediate improvement works through the area.

“The new northern section of expressway will be another important part of the equation to improve road safety across our shared region,” Mayor Gurunathan says.

“We are pleased with the Transport Agency’s response and the practical steps being taken to reduce harm in our District on an important stretch of highway our residents use regularly to access their healthcare and other community services, particularly from Ōtaki.”

Press Release – Horowhenua District Council
Uncertainty has ended for residents and landowners after the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) confirmed its preferred route for the final stage of the Wellington northern corridor. Mayor of Horowhenua Michael Feyen said it had been a long and difficult process for all concerned, but the end was near.

“Those affected can now plan their future, and no doubt for those whose properties aren’t in the way there will be a well-deserved sigh of relief. I am heartened that NZTA officials delivered the letters in person to the 253 affected landowners, and that they’ve made provision for support services to help landowners through this process.”

Mayor Feyen said the announcement led the way to a lot of work.

“It’ll be two to three years before we are through the resource consent stage. In the meantime, there are important physical safety works that will be carried out on SH1 south of Levin. It is a killer of a highway and the work that is planned will help make us all feel and be safer.”

Horowhenua District Council Growth Response Manager Daniel Haigh said naming the preferred route gave landowners and Council confidence and ended the uncertainty.

“The preferred route allows us to finalise the Gladstone Green Master Plan – a 2000-home community on the east of Levin,” said Mr Haigh.

“Next year, Council will discuss with NZTA the preferred location of interchanges to access Levin and SH57. We’ll also need to discuss how the expressway will reconnect back to the current SH1 on the northern outskirts of Levin.

“We are also about to start a conversation with residents in Manakau and Ōhau to better understand their aspirations as we create a community plan for their settlements.”

Mr Haigh said next year Council would also review its growth predictions.

“Current estimates are that we’ll need a minimum of 244 homes to be built every year for the next 20 years. However, the district has grown at a faster rate than predicted for two years in a row and 2018 is tracking even further ahead. We need to review the predictions so we are not caught out by increased growth,” said Mr Haigh.


  1. TrevorH, 12. December 2018, 13:03

    Two people were killed on the existing stretch of highway in separate accidents only two weeks ago, sadly as many have been before and more will likely be before the new link is built. It is unbelievably dangerous for today’s traffic volumes and large trucks. So let’s get on with the new highway as soon as possible and make it four lanes from the outset. Two lanes is both a false economy and an insult to the region.

  2. greenwelly, 12. December 2018, 13:30

    While it’s good we now have a route confirmed, I cannot see any likelihood of construction in the foreseeable future. But once the new Manawatu gorge road is completed, the pressure will come on to improve the “missing link” south of Palmy through to Otaki. This road will eventually get built, but not for a while.

  3. Mike, 12. December 2018, 14:46

    This new road Ōtaki to North of Levin must be four lanes from the start! Spend the money once and do it right. There are already a lot of unfinished projects reading projects eg Second Terrace tunnel where you have pillars standing there waiting for a flyover to be completed !

  4. Robert, 12. December 2018, 16:21

    Surely the actual priority should be a new fast rail route with the NIMT going straight through from Levin to Marton on track for 80mph(130k) with extension of rail electrification to Wanganui and AC conversion within 5 years to Plimmerton a suitable point for the AC/DC conversion and space for some container freight redistribution. It is a scandal to see the massive motorway development north of Wellington dwarfing the rail. We are importing huge amounts of old cars, allowing substandard drivers, failing to impose serious congestion charging. Light rail is being developed only to take low grade work in downtrodden areas of Auckland. Inter city rail only for tourists. Railcars should be running at least three tines a day on the Picton and West Coast Alpine route.

  5. Mark Shanks, 14. December 2018, 13:58

    Well said Robert. I’m waiting to hear of a comprehensive rail strategy that aims to boost passenger service by increasing supply, the variety of routes and reducing prices. A service that competes on price with car and air travel. Am I dreaming?