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Last updated 2 December 2018

Project update and status

  •   What is the current status of the Ōtaki to north of Levin 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 Ōtaki to north of Levin (O2NL) project.

    At this time, we indicated the next steps for the project would take into account changes to the Government’s transport system priorities, to be outlined in the new Government’s draft Policy Statement 2018–21 on Land Transport (GPS)(external link)

    To ensure alignment with these priorities, a re-evaluation of the project was carried out, and we announced the outcome of this re-evaluation in October.

    The re-focused plans include delivering short and medium term safety improvements, designating for a new route which will have allowance for four lanes in the future and working to enhance public transport options and improve amenity within Levin.

    It is envisaged that the new state highway will be planned as a two-lane highway while allowing for additional capacity in the future by protecting a route suitable for four lanes.  The construction timing and form of this new route will depend on growth and funding priorities across the rest of the country.

    In December 2018, we selected a preferred corridor for O2NL. This is a combination of the shortlisted options known as S6 and N4. It is the shortlisted option that runs closest to State Highway 1 (SH1) in the south and alongside State Highway 57 (SH57) in the north.

  •   Why was that corridor chosen?

    The preferred corridor delivers strongly on safety and resilience, which are high priorities for many in the community and for the project. It can also provide connections to urban areas and planned growth areas, and supports options to make Levin town centre a better place to live and move around.

    As the shortest route of the corridor options considered, it is also expected to shift the most traffic off the existing state highway.

  •   Did the community get to have a say?

    In February / March this year, we engaged with the community on a shortlist of corridor options, with nearly 1400 visiting our pop-up shop, and more attending information sessions and community meetings. We also met with over 300 property owners in the area.

    We heard that, in principle, the community supports the O2NL project and recognises something needs to be done to improve the safety, resilience and congestion on the stretch of SH1 and SH57 between Ōtaki and north of Levin.

    The preferred corridor is a combination of two options that received support during community engagement. In response to concerns raised in these conversations, we carried out further detailed ecological, heritage, social, noise and vibration assessments. These have helped shape our way forward.

  •   What’s happening next?

    The next steps are further investigation and design. Subject to funding approval, we intend to progress this work between now and early 2020. We will work with property owners, and the wider community to progress design of the road within the preferred corridor.

    We’ll then seek to obtain Resource Management Act approvals, including having the land designated to provide for the construction and operation of the project. Once funding is approved we can work towards having a designation in place within approximately two to three years.

  •   When will the new road be built?

    The construction timing and form of this new route will depend on growth, safety and funding priorities across the rest of the country.

    For now, the next steps are further investigation and design. Subject to funding approval, we intend to progress this work between now and early 2020.

  •   Why are we now talking about two lanes, rather than the four lanes proposed previously?

    Outcomes of safety, access to social and economic opportunities, transport choice, and resilience are able to be achieved in the first instance with a new two lane road as part of the wider programme.

    To enable us to accommodate additional capacity in the future we’ll be protecting a route suitable for four lanes.

    The construction timing and form of this new route will depend on growth, safety and on funding priorities across the rest of the country.

  •   What happens in the meantime?

    In the short term, immediate safety improvements will be made on the existing highway. These safety improvements will initially focus on speed management, road marking, signs, and enforcement, followed by infrastructure measures.

    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.

  •   What else is planned?

    We will work with our Council partners and the Levin community to develop a programme to make the town centre a better place to live and move around. This will include sustainable land use, enhanced walking and cycling access and potentially delivering some sections of the new road earlier to manage heavy vehicles.

    To provide greater choice for moving around locally and regionally, we will work with local and regional councils to investigate public transport enhancements which could include rail connections, park and ride facilities and bus service improvements.


Property owner questions

  •   Does this mean you’ll be buying my property or part of my property?

    The corridor we’ve identified is 300 metres wide – that’s three full size rugby fields, end on end. The final design width of the road will typically be about 60 to 100m, with additional width at interchanges and connections.

    Before we can confirm direct impacts on individual properties, we need to progress the road design further. Subject to funding approval, we intend to progress this work between now and early 2020.

  •   When will you be buying my property?

    Depending on the final position of the road within the preferred corridor, we may require all or part of each individual property within the preferred corridor. Some properties will likely not be required.

    Closer to the start of building the new road, we’ll be seeking to purchase the properties we need. Before that can be finalised we’ll need to secure designations and obtain the other necessary Resource Management Act approvals. Subject to appeals, we’re working towards having a designation in place within about two to three years.

  •   I need to move now, and I can’t sell

    As we continue our investigations and design and seek Resource Management Act approvals, we are only able to consider property purchases under our Advance Purchase Policy. This policy allows properties to be acquired by the NZ Transport Agency on the basis of hardship, including medical grounds.

  •   Why do you still not know if you need my property?

    Before we could get down to more detailed investigations and design, we needed to consider a range of corridor options. We also needed to check that the planned road fitted with priorities set out by the government.

    Now that the preferred corridor has been selected, investigations and design work can progress.

  •   What happens if I’m right next to the road?

    As we progress the design of the road, we’ll be seeking to understand the potential effects on individual properties, such as possible noise or visual impacts, and consider measures to avoid, minimise or mitigate those potential effects.

    We’ll work closely with property owners and the community as we progress the investigations and design for the road.


Tenant questions

January to March 2018 community engagement

  •   What community participation and feedback occurred during the engagement?

    In addition to over 300 meetings with property owners, over the course of the five-week engagement period in early 2018, 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.

  •   What shortlisted corridor options were presented to the community?

    All the shortlisted options are east of the existing SH1.

    Each corridor between Ōtaki and north of Levin is made up of a southern option (S6, S7, S7A) and a northern option (N4, N5, N9). Each of the three southern options can be linked with the each of the northern options to form nine potential corridors for the O2NL project.

    Route options to the west of Levin were considered as part of the option assessment process. However, none of these options were shortlisted as:

    • some of the options have more significant environmental effects than options east of SH1
    • people travelling to Levin or Palmerston North are not likely to use a western option due to longer travelling times
    • they would have significant cultural effects.
  •   How did you select and assess the options?

    In June 2017, we sought the various perspectives of people who live, work and travel in the area. This has helped us understand community values and interests, including cultural, environmental, business and social issues. This information, together with our technical information, was used to develop a long list of possible corridor options which we then assessed.

    The O2NL project team then held two day-long workshops in August 2017 with members of the local community, iwi and relevant stakeholders (the Project Reference Group) to analyse possible corridor options using the Multi Criteria Analysis process (MCA). Environmental, engineering, planning, property and transport specialists provided information on the effects of each option.

    Over 50 people attended each workshop. At workshop 1, the participants identified 10 additional corridor options and discussed the assessment criteria. At workshop 2, the participants scored all of the 23 options against 12 criteria.

    The option development and assessment process is shown on the information boards [PDF, 8.9 MB] used for the early 2018 community engagement.

  •   What is an MCA process?

    Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) is a method used during projects to compare the potential effects of different options against a range of criteria. The criteria chosen reflect the issues that need to be considered and taken into account, such as specific local features, heritage, cultural and ecological values. MCA provides a systematic framework for working through the merits and disadvantages of each option and involves scoring the options against the criteria. The MCA scoring system identifies how favourably an option performs against each criterion. The criteria are weighted to reflect the relative importance of each criterion in a particular situation.

  •   What is a corridor?

    During the initial planning and route selection process, a 300 metre wide corridor of land is allowed in which a road could be constructed.