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Last updated 4 October 2019

Project update and status

  •   What is the current status of the Ōtaki to north of Levin project?

    The NZ Transport Agency has completed an Indicative Business Case and has now committed to undertake the next critical steps in the Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL) project.

    This will enable the NZ Transport Agency to build on the work already completed by the project and commence the development of the Ō2NL Detailed Business Case (Ō2NL DBC) and designation of the new route.

    Confirming the designation of the new route will help us to identify where it will ultimately sit within the preferred 300m wide corridor, securing it for the future and providing certainty for current and future development, as well as land owners.

  •   When will construction commence?

    Construction of Ō2NL will not begin until the Ō2NL DBC, designation and final design of the new route are complete, consents are granted and when funding is made available in the future. Given current funding is heavily constrained this is not expected in the next ten years.

  •   Why is there currently no funding available for construction?

    There has been a reduction in overall state highway funding for the 2018-21 period, with further reductions in the years beyond that period.

    As a result there is currently insufficient funding to invest in all the infrastructure that communities are asking for. 

    This means careful management is needed to ensure our overall programme aligns with the Government’s transport priorities.

  •   What about safety on the existing state highway?

    Safety is a major issue for this region, and so we have a number of safety initiatives underway on SH1 Ōtaki to Levin.

    A speed review of SH1 from Ōtaki to Levin will begin in the near future. While technical advice will be an important part of this review, local knowledge and experience of using these roads is also vital to this process, and we will be actively seeking input and feedback from the community.

    We are also pleased to advise that we will commence the the design work for the first segment of some more significant safety improvements, to SH1and SH57  south of Levin.

    This section includes 23.4km of state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki (PP2Ō) Expressway to Levin, and along SH57 from SH1 to the intersection of Queen Street.

    We are also continuing to investigate further safety improvements on the existing SH1 to the north of Levin. These improvements will be implemented as part of the national Safe Network Programme.


Preferred corridor

  •   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.

  •   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 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.