Plans to four-lane State Highway 1 south of Whangārei could impact on more than 330 properties, and people can find out more at the first community information days planned for the project.
Up to 336 landowners could be impacted by the impending $692 million four-lane highway into Whangārei from the SH1 roundabout near Ruakākā.
Waka Kotahi NZ 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 that 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.
The suggested route would go through large areas of farmland as it approached Whangārei, but would also require the acquisition of houses and businesses at Otaika and Raumanga. Waka Kotahi had been meeting 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
The organisation is hosting two public events next week where people will be able to learn more about and give feedback on the project, which is part of the NZ Upgrade Programme.
The drop-in sessions, planned for venues in Mata and the Whangārei Town Basin, will provide an opportunity for the public to see the emerging preferred corridor which was announced late last year, meet the project team and get an overview of what's planned at this early stage in the process.
The events are on February 24, from 4pm-7pm at Mata Hall, Salmon Rd, Mata and on February 27, from 10am-1pm at The Hub Information Centre, Whangārei Town Basin.
Information will also be available at the Waka Kotahi site at Northland Field Days from March 4-6.
Waka Kotahi national manager infrastructure delivery, Andrew Thackwray, says that while the project is still in its very early stages of design, it's important to keep the Northland community informed as it evolves.
"We've been in touch with property owners within the emerging preferred corridor and have met with many of them to discuss what this might mean for their property and to seek their feedback. We'd now like to share this work with the wider community and hear their thoughts on the current plans."
The emerging preferred corridor includes upgrading SH1 to four lanes (with some sections built on a new alignment to straighten out curves), with a shared walking and cycling path between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway (SH15).
The next steps include further technical and design work to assess where the new highway could be placed within the preferred corridor, as well as looking at where and how it could join with local roads.
Confirmation of the preferred corridor and a draft plan for the road layout for the upgraded highway is expected around mid-late 2021, with a plan to lodge for consents in early 2022. Construction is due to begin late-2023/early-2024.
Meanwhile, further safety improvements – including widened centrelines and road shoulders, rumble strips and safety barriers – are also planned on the existing busy stretch of state highway. Work is planned to start in April and will take about 12 months to complete. There will be more information about this project at the community information days.