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Project introduction

The Ōtaki to north of Levin project is the northernmost section of the Wellington Northern Corridor and will improve the safety and resilience of the transport network connecting Ōtaki and Levin, and continue the strategic and economic link to central New Zealand.

  • Estimated project cost

    $100+ million
  • Project type

    Roads of National Significance
  • Project status


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The NZ Transport Agency is investigating a new state highway which will help solve the safety and resilience problems associated with sections of State Highway 1 (SH1) and State Highway 57 (SH57).

This project is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor. The proposed new state highway would tie in with the yet to be completed Kāpiti Expressway and extend to just north of Levin, including a bypass of Levin Town Centre.

Project update

The NZ Transport Agency has released the draft Transport Agency Investment Proposal (TAIP) which sets out our investment approach and proposed programme of activities across all modes of transport for the next ten years.

The draft TAIP has been guided by the new priorities and strategic direction set out in the Government’s draft Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport (external link) , released in April this year. This signalled a new direction for land transport investment in New Zealand and will strongly influence which projects and programmes of work the Transport Agency progresses, and when.

The O2NL project is one of several that have been identified in the draft TAIP as requiring re-evaluation to better align with the draft GPS. We will provide an update once the project has been re-evaluated. We will update the community with a further update on the re-evaluation of the project within the next two months.

We acknowledge that the current lack of certainty is a cause of concern and frustration for many communities and people affected by the project. We remain committed to working closely with communities, property owners, central and local government, and other key stakeholders, to deliver solutions that meet transport needs now and for the future.

In the meantime, we will continue to progress planned safety improvements to SH1 between Levin and the Manawatū River. The current proposed safety improvements for this section of SH1 include realignment of SH1 at Waitārere Curves and provision of north bound passing lanes to the north and south of the Waitārere Curves. We have committed to discussing and co-designing these proposals with the local community and iwi.

In addition, the Safe Roads Alliance will be investigating what improvements can be undertaken to the southern section of SH57 between Heatherlea East Road and SH1. These may include safety barriers, rumble strips, wider centre lines and wider shoulders. We will discuss any planned improvements with the community.

We have written to previously contacted property owners to update them on the O2NL project, and will provide a further update on the re-evaluation of the project within the next two months.

What has been happening

Over the past three years we have developed staged plans to improve the state highway network that have been consistent with our long term objective to develop a four-lane expressway to Levin.

We have delivered safety improvements in Ōhau and Manakau. Initial monitoring of these improvements indicates the vast majority of traffic is now travelling at a speed more suitable for the area.

Work on the Wellington Northern Corridor is progressing and by 2020 an expressway will extend from Wellington to Ōtaki. To the north of Levin the replacement of the Whirokino Trestle and Manawatū River Bridge is expected to be complete by 2019 opening up this route to all High Productivity Motor Vehicles, which will increase freight traffic (trucks) on this route.

Working with the community

We are working closely with local councils in the Horowhenua and Kāpiti districts and are engaging closely with iwi, key stakeholders and community groups.

In June 2017, we sought the community’s view on the values, interests, issues and constraints associated with the Ōtaki to north of Levin project. The results of the community engagement [PDF, 5.8 MB] were used to help develop corridor options for the project.

Between January and mid-March 2018, we provided our project partners, stakeholders and local community with an opportunity to review a shortlist of options and contribute to the selection of a preferred corridor for the O2NL project. Feedback closed on 23 March 2018.

Over the course of the five-week engagement period, approximately 3,000 people either dropped into our Levin pop-up shop or met with us at one of our community information sessions, community meetings and hui. In addition to people talking to the project team about the shortlisted options, almost 600 people provided helpful feedback online, by email, using the feedback form or by post.

Project Contacts

Ōtaki to north of Levin project team –
More contact info
  • Phone: 0508 625 4636

  • Alternatively you can write to us:
    Ōtaki to north of Levin project team
    Freepost 225938
    PO Box 5084, Thorndon
    Wellington 6145