25 Oct 2018

Ōtaki expressway gets the all-clear

6:52 am on 25 October 2018

A new road linking Ōtaki and north of Levin has been confirmed - but it will be two lanes instead of the four proposed by the previous government.


Photo: CC-BY-SA-2.5,2.0,1.0; GFDL

It was previously unclear if the road, which would replace the current State Highway 1, would go ahead, as it was being re-evaluated by the Transport Agency to make sure it fit with the current government's priorities.

The agency's director regional relationships Emma Speight said the road would be built and a preferred route confirmed in December.

"We will be working to designate and protect the land for a new corridor as soon as possible, to provide greater certainty for the community."

The route would have capacity for four lanes, so it could be extended later.

About 400 residents were told in February they could be in the way of the road, and then had to wait for it go through a re-evaluation process.

Ms Speight said she appreciated people's patience as things were worked through.

Manakau resident Jane Wood and her husband live in the path of two of the three possible options for the road.

She said the news that the road would definitely be going ahead, offered no comfort.

"We just keep being told that there will be a decision made, and a decision isn't made then we get another letter saying virtually the same thing, and we're just all in limbo.

"It's very poor that they're able to keep people in suspense the way that they are because it's our lives that they're playing with.

She and her husband had hoped to live in their home comfortably for the rest of their lives, but now she felt they'd be living there in a state of stress for possibly many years.

They had been waiting almost two years to hear what route the road would take.

"I would just like the people in charge of it to put themselves into our position and live each day as we have to live it, with this uncertainty hanging over us."

A proposed timeline for the road would also be announced in December.

In the meantime the current State Highway 1 would be improved to make it safer.

The Transport Agency would also look at how it could make public transport in the region better. This could include increased train services between Palmerston North and Wellington, Ms Speight said.