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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 the wider region.

  • Estimated project cost

    $1.5b (including contingencies) through NZ Upgrade Programme - costs will continue to be refined.
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status

    Investigation

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Project update – November 2022

The Ōtaki to north of Levin new highway and shared user pathway project has reached a key milestone.

Waka Kotahi has lodged, under the Resource Management Act 1991, Notices of Requirement and applications for resource consents with Horizons and Greater Wellington Regional Councils and Horowhenua and Kāpiti Coast District Councils (the Councils). If approved, these applications reflect the key environmental approvals required for the project to be built.

Over the last few years Waka Kotahi, in partnership with Muaūpoko and hapū of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga have undertaken engagement with councils, stakeholders, road users and community to understand local insights and concerns, contributing to the shaping of the Ō2NL project.

The Councils will invite landowners, community groups, organisations and the wider public to make a submission on the applications to submit your support, opposition or conditional support for the project.

Find out more about the Notice of Requirement and applications for resource consents below:

Information sheet [PDF, 2.8 MB]

Consent applications

Community engagement 2022

We are working to make travel from Ōtaki to north of Levin safer, more resilient and increase the transport choices for the area’s growing population.

Your feedback and local knowledge can help ensure the new highway serves your community the best way possible and helps us manage any effects appropriately. Feedback closed Thursday 26 May 2022, we are currently processing these responses and will publish an Engagement Report later this year.

View all the latest information for this project:

Project update – August 2020

Investigation and initial concept design work has been progressing on the new highway in recent months to develop a draft preferred alignment for the new Ōtaki to north of Levin highway, within the 300m wide preferred corridor announced in December 2018.

Early in August 2020 Waka Kotahi started meeting with property owners within the draft preferred alignment area and is now able to share this work with the wider community.

The draft preferred alignment for the new highway has been assessed as the technically preferred option from our work to date across multiple fields, balancing project objectives, environmental and social impacts and ability to implement.

Technical specialists have conducted investigations in multiple areas such as ecology, heritage, social, noise, and engineering, assessing options for where the new highway could be placed within the preferred corridor as well as considering connections and local roads.

Following consultation and further technical work Waka Kotahi will consider refinements to the draft preferred alignment and work towards finalising the preferred alignment in late 2021.

To find out more about the draft preferred alignment please find our engagement display boards and brochure below:

Community engagement 2020

During August and September 2020, we asked the public for feedback about the draft preferred alignment of the new highway.

Feedback has now closed. However you can see what others had to say on our interactive map.

View feedback(external link)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our community information drop-in sessions. We hosted nearly 800 people at these sessions and appreciated the opportunity to talk with people and answer questions during the feedback phase.

Your feedback and local knowledge will help ensure the new highway serves your community effectively. For more information on the feedback and future engagement periods, please keep an eye on our monthly project updates.

Project update – January 2020

Four-laning State Highway 1 from Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL) continues the Kāpiti Expressway north of Wellington to support growth in Levin and provide a safer and more resilient route.

The NZ Upgrade Programme will spend $817 million on a new 24-kilometre highway, built to the east of the existing State Highway 1 (SH1) alignment.

This new highway will be four lanes. Investigations will look at opportunities to prioritise freight, public transport and vehicles carrying multiple people. The project includes a separated shared path for walking and cycling running the entire length of the new highway. It will link into shared path facilities built as part of the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway and Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway, helping extend the region’s cycleway.

Three of New Zealand’s top 100 dangerous intersections are along this route. In the five years to 2017, there were 49 deaths and serious injuries along the route, making it one of the country’s most dangerous sections of road to drive. The new highway will dramatically improve safety.

O2NL is critical for both the Wellington and the Manawatū–Whanganui regions to continue to grow. The new highway will ensure people and freight are able to safely and easily move between the two regions and the rest of the North Island. The project also ensures better access to the key distribution hubs at Palmerston North, the largest freight connection in the central North Island.

With no current alternative route when SH1 is closed by crashes or weather-related events, the new highway will provide a detour route and build resilience into the state highway network. Safety improvements on the existing SH1 corridor will continue as this road will be an important local road in the future.

The new highway will be built between Taylors Road north of Ōtaki, linking with the expressway, and ending just north of Levin, where the highway branches to head further north and towards Palmerston North. It will support economic growth, allowing sustainable growth of Levin, meeting current and future transport demands.

Construction is expected to begin in 2025.

Find out more about the NZ Upgrade Programme

In October 2019, the Transport Agency committed to developing the Ō2NL detailed business case and lodge a notice of requirement for a designation of the new route.

These steps will help us to identify where the route will ultimately sit within the preferred 300m wide corridor, securing it for the future and providing certainty for land owners.

The Transport Agency will continue to work with impacted land owners and the wider community as we progress this work.

Media release: Next steps underway on Ōtaki to north of Levin corridor – 4 October 2019

A preferred corridor for O2NL

In December 2018 a preferred corridor was selected from the shortlisted options for O2NL. The preferred corridor is the shortlisted option that runs closest to SH1 in the south and alongside SH57 in the north. It is a combination of the shortlisted options known as S6 and N4, which received support during community engagement.

The preferred corridor also takes into account (among a number of other factors) questions raised by the community regarding ecological, heritage, social, noise and vibration impacts.

Re-evaluating the project to align with the Government’s Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS)

When we engaged with the community in early 2018 we let people know we’d need to take into account the new Government’s transport system priorities as set out in the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport (GPS).

Government Policy Statement for 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 2018.

Following re-evaluation, 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.

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

Engaging with local communities 2017

As the project progresses, we are working with local councils in the Horowhenua and Kāpiti districts and engaging 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 were used to help develop corridor options for the project.

SH1 Ōtaki to north of Levin: Engagement summary report [PDF, 5.8 MB]

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.

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

In December 2018, we came back to the community with the preferred corridor and spoke with property owners who were potentially affected by the preferred corridor.

We will continue to work with these property owners and the wider community to further investigate and progress design of the road, within the preferred corridor.

The Northern Corridor

Over the past three years we have developed staged plans to improve the state highway network north of Wellington.

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. Other safety improvements on the existing state highway in late 2018 and early 2019.

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 early 2020 opening up this route to High Productivity Motor Vehicles, which will increase freight traffic (trucks) on this route.

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Project Contacts

Ōtaki to north of Levin project team – O2NL@nzta.govt.nz
More contact info
  • Phone: 0508 625 4636
  • Alternatively you can write to us:
    Ōtaki to north of Levin Project Team
    Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Level 5)
    Private Bag 6995
    Wellington 6141