Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is inviting the public to a virtual screening of the updated concept design for the Te Ahu a Tūranga: Manawatū Tararua Highway and hear about recent progress on the project.

A series of drop-in public information sessions will be held this month to present information on the design of the four-lane highway, recent onsite activity, and the project's extensive ecological mitigation work programme.

TA owner interface manager Lonnie Dalzell says the team has been working hard behind the scenes and has plenty of fresh information to share with the community.

"Te Ahu a Tūranga is a major project that will restore a crucial transport link to support the needs of locals, travellers and freight across the lower North Island.

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"It's important that we get it right and that's why we've made it a priority to keep the community informed along the way and to actively seek their feedback."

Feedback gathered to date has contributed to a number of changes to the project, including:

- Inclusion of a shared path for walkers and cyclists.

- Addition of slow vehicle lanes for 3km on the Ruahine Ranges, effectively making the highway four lanes for its entire 11.5km length.

- Additional work to achieve the project's goal of 'treading lightly' through the environment and, where possible, leaving the landscape in a better state than before the project began.

"We are particularly excited about our increased ecological scope, which will see the project planting about 46ha of forest to replace the 11ha we expect to be impacted by the construction of the highway.

"This reflects our firm commitment to treating the landscape with the utmost care and consideration," Dalzell says.

"The project team is looking forward to sharing our updated concept design and a range of other information at the public sessions.

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"We encourage everyone to come along to hear and see more about the project, and to share their feedback."

The information sessions will be held March 10, Dannevirke RSA, 4pm - 6.30pm; March 11, Ashhurst Village Valley Centre, 4pm-7pm; March 12, Hancock Community House, 77-85 King St, Palmerston North, 4pm - 6.30pm.