The NZ Transport Agency is reporting back on its engagement with the community for a planned new route from Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL).
The Ō2NL section of the Wellington Northern Corridor aims to provide a modern and safe state highway network to cope with growth in traffic volumes and enhance economic growth and productivity.
The Transport Agency has been analysing the results of the engagement which took place from May to July this year, during which over 1,670 people attended a wide range of community events.
“The events drew a great response from people interested in the project,” says Emma Speight, Director of Regional Relationships ( Lower North Island).
We focused engagement on understanding the community’s interests, values and aspirations as well as the project’s objectives and opportunities.
We’ve compiled a report [PDF, 5.8 MB] summarising the engagement process so far and the feedback we got.
“Among the suggestions were ideas about whether a new state highway route should go to the east or the west of Levin, with strong support for a bypass to ease congestion and remove heavy vehicles from the centre of town.”
“People also pointed out to us some of the unique features of the Horowhenua District that they think should be protected such as highly productive soils, the special character of villages, marae, rural lifestyle zones and heritage buildings.”
The spiritual and visual connection between Lake Horowhenua and the Tararua Ranges was also highlighted.
“We also got a lot of feedback about the safety improvements we’ve made in recent years, such as lowering of speed limits and other safety features around Manakau and Ōhau, and we also heard your concerns about dangerous intersections, narrow bridges and a lack of safe passing opportunities on the existing state highway 1 route,” says Ms Speight.
“We received 217 feedback forms and people put 553 pins and stickers on our maps to tell us their thoughts and opinions about what is important to them and the community. Overall we received almost 900 pieces of feedback from a variety of channels which is a fantastic response.”
“We’ve also been talking to stakeholders including previously contacted landowners, people who live along the network, iwi, road users, community and residential groups, local authorities and road users.”
This feedback will be used along with our technical work to develop one or more alignment options.
We plan to come back to the public in late 2017 to show the results of this work, and seek further feedback. This will form the basis of a recommended option we will take to the Transport Agency Board for endorsement in early 2018.
We’ve also set up a project reference group to continue discussions with the community through the next stages of Ō2NL.
Visit the Ō2NL project page for more information.