Now that the NZ Transport Agency has confirmed its preferred route for the final stage of the Wellington northern corridor, other decisions can be made.

Horowhenua District Mayor of Horowhenua Michael Feyen said it had been a long and difficult process for all concerned, but the end was near.

"Those affected can now plan their future, and no doubt for those whose properties aren't in the way there will be a well-deserved sigh of relief.

"I am heartened that NZTA officials delivered the letters in person to the 253 affected landowners, and that they've made provision for support services to help landowners through this process."


Mayor Feyen said the announcement led the way to a lot of work.

"It'll be two to three years before we are through the resource consent stage. In the meantime, there are important physical safety works that will be carried out on SH1 south of Levin. It is a killer of a highway and the work that is planned will help make us all feel and be safer."

Horowhenua District Council Growth Response Manager Daniel Haigh said naming the preferred route gave landowners and Council confidence and ended the uncertainty.

"The preferred route allows us to finalise the Gladstone Green Master Plan – a 2000-home community on the east of Levin," said Mr Haigh.

"Next year, Council will discuss with NZTA the preferred location of interchanges to access Levin and SH57. We'll also need to discuss how the expressway will reconnect back to the current SH1 on the northern outskirts of Levin.

"We are also about to start a conversation with residents in Manakau and Ōhau to better understand their aspirations as we create a community plan for their settlements."

Mr Haigh said next year Council would also review its growth predictions.

"Current estimates are that we'll need a minimum of 244 homes to be built every year for the next 20 years. However, the district has grown at a faster rate than predicted for two years in a row and 2018 is tracking even further ahead. We need to review the predictions so we are not caught out by increased growth," said Mr Haigh.

The new highway will follow the S6 and N4 routes, meaning it will run close to SH1 from Ōtaki up to Kuku, then veer off into nearby rural land to connect with N4 to run alongside SH57.

The Transport Agency's Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight said the preferred corridor was selected following engagement with the community and takes into account, among a number of other factors, the views of people who live, work and travel in the area.

"We also carried out additional ecological, heritage, social, noise and vibration assessments following questions raised by the community, and these have helped shape our way forward," Ms Speight said.

"The selected corridor will provide a shorter route than other options, and is more accessible to urban areas. Of all the routes considered, this one is expected to shift the most traffic off the existing SH1.

"We greatly appreciate people's patience as we've worked through this process and recognise the frustration that the uncertainty has caused.

"We've been in touch with all of the property owners who were potentially affected by the range of shortlisted corridor options, to inform them of the decision.

"Subject to funding approval, we'll be working with property owners, stakeholders and the community throughout 2019 and early 2020 as we further investigate and progress design of the road, within the preferred corridor.

"Improved public transport for the region will also be investigated, which could include rail connections, park and ride facilities and bus service improvements."

Work is also continuing on short and medium-term safety improvements on the state highway network through Horowhenua and Kāpiti.

"These safety improvements will initially focus on speed management, road marking, signs, and enforcement, followed by infrastructure measures such as barriers," Ms Speight said.