The route for the four-lane Horowhenua expressway will become clearer this week with potentially affected households to get official letters.

The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that on Thursday it will send out letters about the expressway to potentially affected landowners.

A Horowhenua District Council report last month said NZTA would release a shortlist of route options. Confirmation of the route will not happen until the second half of the year.
NZTA expected to give its preferred expressway corridor to its board in June. The board could then approve or reject the recommendation.

NZTA confirmed it would begin its public engagement on the expressway in February. A schedule for public open days and meetings would be released.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week said neglected regional roads were more worthy of taxpayer money than nine previously proposed nationwide highway projects, of which the Horowhenua expressway was one.

But it appears the Horowhenua project does have government support.

NZTA director of regional relationship Emma Speight said the Government had indicated it supported the process to finalise a preferred corridor and the next steps, which would provide clarity and certainty for local communities.

She said NZTA was committed to working with impacted communities and residents to finalise a preferred corridor and the next steps in 2018.

The proposed expressway runs from just north of Otaki to north of Levin and construction has been proposed to start in 2021. Extending it up to the new bridge being built across the Manawatu River near Foxton has also been floated by NZTA.

If built, the expressway will join a network of other expressways already built or under construction giving motorists a direct route to Wellington that avoids urban areas and will greatly reduce travelling time to and from the capital.

Work on the Peka Peka to Otaki expressway started last year. Large earthworks are clearly visible on the north and south approaches to the town.

Construction of the Transmission Gully section of the corridor in the hills just north of Wellington is expected to be completed in 2020.

If you are a property owner impacted by this project, and if you receive a letter saying your property could be affected by the expressway, we'd like to hear what you think about it. Call us or email Adam at news@chronicle.co.nz with your thoughts.