Anyone in Horowhenua wanting to know more about the latest Ōtaki-to-Levin expressway announcement from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are invited to attend public information sessions that start next week.

The drop-in sessions were being held at Manakau, Ohau, Levin and Koputaroa over the next four weeks to answer any questions and give people the opportunity to give feedback.

It also includes an information display at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō during library hours from 1 - 11 September. Information and feedback opportunities were also available on the NZTA website.

Feedback will be open until 22 September.

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NZTA this week announced the draft preferred alignment for the new Ōtaki to north of Levin highway, within the 300m-wide preferred corridor that was announced in December 2018.

A map showing the draft preferred alignment.
A map showing the draft preferred alignment.

Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says Waka Kotahi is now eight months into an 18-24 month process of finalising the new highway's alignment.

"The process began with a long-list then short-list of options, that went through rigorous analysis. This compared potential effects of different options against a range of criteria including project objectives, environmental and social impacts, and ability to implement," she said.

Technical specialists have conducted investigations in multiple areas such as ecology, heritage, social, noise, and engineering.

Speight said this was done to assess options for where the new highway could be placed within the preferred corridor, as well as considering connection and local road options.

Emma Speight, NZTA at Horowhenua geotech drilling.
Emma Speight, NZTA at Horowhenua geotech drilling.

"We are in touch with property owners within the corridor and are meeting with property owners within the draft preferred alignment to discuss what this might mean for them and to seek their feedback,"she said.

"We'd now like to share this work with the community and hear their feedback on the current plans.

"We greatly appreciate people's patience as we've worked through this process."

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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.

The new highway has received $817 million from the NZ Upgrade Programme and is now due to be completed in 2029.

Meanwhile, work is also continuing on a programme of safety improvements on the state highway network in Horowhenua.

In July and early August proposals for safety improvements on State Highway 57 were shared and feedback sought, with approximately 250 people attending local drop-in events.

"Our priority is to ensure we have a safer transport network free of death and injury. Our programme of works in the Ōtaki to north Levin corridor will enhance safety and resilience of the transport network and improve the transport experience for the community," Ms Speight says.

The four-lane Ōtaki to north of Levin highway and shared path will make travel between Ōtaki and Levin safer and less susceptible to disruption. It will also increase transport choices and enable economic growth in the region.

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Monday 31 August
2pm–6pm Manakau Bowling & Sports Club, 10 Mokena Kohere Street, Manakau
Tuesday 1–Thursday 3 September
10am–4pm Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Saturday 5 September
10am–2pm Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Tuesday 8–Thursday 10 September
10am–4pm Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Saturday 12 September
10am–1pm Ohau Hall, 14 Muhunoa West Road, Ohau
Tuesday 15 September
2pm–4pm Koputaroa Hall, 399 Koputaroa Rd, Koputaroa