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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 is currently re-evaluating the Ōtaki to north of Levin (O2NL) project.

The vision of the new Government is for a safer transport network free of death and injury, accessible and affordable transport, value for money and reduced emissions. It is important that future plans for transport, including state highway corridors such as O2NL, now align to this vision as set out in the Government Policy Statement(external link).

The Transport Agency announced the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) on 31 August which reflects the Government’s new vision. The NLTP is the programme of investment in land transport for the next three years.

The re-evaluation work for O2NL could not be completed by the time the NLTP was announced. This does not mean this project is not included in the NLTP but rather the recommendations from the re-evaluation process will be considered for inclusion as soon as practicable after this work is complete.

The Transport Agency has made good progress on the O2NL re-evaluation work and is expecting to finalise this by the end of October 2018. This means we expect to be able to update property owners potentially affected by the project and the community shortly after that about the future plans for the State Highway between Ōtaki and North of Levin and what this means for the community.

We recognise the frustration that uncertainty and delays can cause many communities and people affected by the project. We are committed to providing certainty as quickly as we can while also carrying out this work in a robust way so we get the best outcomes for future communities.

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 project re-evaluation and will update everyone again as soon as we have more information.

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