Up to 336 landowners could be impacted by the impending $692 million four-lane highway into Whangārei from the State Highway 1 roundabout near Ruakākā.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency revealed that 336 landowners along the highway's potential route, dubbed an emerging preferred corridor, had been sent letters by the agency, detailing how their property was inside the corridor.
The number was released to the Northern Advocate after an Official Information Act request. Also requested was the total number of properties which would be directly and indirectly impacted, but this was refused given the total number could not be determined until the highway's route was confirmed.
Eleven aerial maps were published in December which outlined the suggested route from Port Marsden Highway near Ruakākā to Raumanga. It showed where the new highway would deviate from the current road as well as indicating what other land was being investigated as part of the project.
The suggested route would use up a significant amount of farmland as it approaches Whangārei, but would also require the acquisition of dozens of houses and businesses as it enters Otaika and Raumanga.
Waka Kotahi had been meeting with home and business owners directly affected by the suggested route for months and had asked locals to have their say via their website www.nzta.govt.nz
In January, the Northern Advocate spoke to potentially impacted landowners who referenced the anxiety and uncertainly the project had caused.
Otaika resident Dirk Boesser received a Waka Kotahi letter in December that the suggested route was "likely to have a direct impact" on his property.
He said the possibility of losing his home to the highway was causing him sleepless nights.
"I'm feeling homeless," he said at the time.
Many business operators in the Otaika shopping centre said they too were uncertain about how the highway's construction would affect their premises and their link to customers.
Oakleigh resident Paul Slako has lived right beside the intersection of SH1 and Mangapai Rd for 46 years and firmly believed a new road was necessary.
He urged Waka Kotahi to seriously consider the environment impact of highway construction in his area before the route was finalised.
Whangārei MP Emily Henderson said the four-lane highway was desperately needed but she understood the stress it would cause locals.
"It's very stressful and sad for them, to be exposed to that uncertainty. We all know it's badly needed, we're all pleased to see it's coming but it is going to have that nuisance value."
Henderson encouraged any resident or business owner to contact her if they needed help understanding the suggested route and its ramifications.
Former Whangārei MP, now National Party list MP, Dr Shane Reti said the project would be of great benefit for the region.
"Four lanes is good for all of us. There's very few that disagree that the four lanes from Whangārei to Marsden is critical to our economic development."
Like Henderson, the National Party deputy leader said he would support any resident or business owner who needed it - even in his role in the opposition.
Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai said she knew what residents and business owners were feeling after a relative of hers was put in a similar position.
"The uncertainty, the anxiety, the fear - it's not a pleasant place for people to be in if they are thinking they might have a motorway through their lounge or right next door where they lived in a peaceful place."
Nevertheless, Mai was glad the project was gaining traction so Whangārei's congestion issues could be addressed and its economic future boosted.