Otaika residents and business owners face an anxious wait after Waka Kotahi released a possible route for a four-lane highway into Whangārei, which could see dozens of people lose their homes or business properties.
The national transport agency has identified an "emerging preferred corridor" where the almost $700 million highway could be built.
Eleven aerial maps have been published 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 has been meeting with home and business owners directly affected by the suggested route for months and has asked locals to have their say via their website www.nzta.govt.nz
Is your house or business threatened by the suggested route? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your say.
However, many are anxious as they wait to see whether their property will be sacrificed.
Dirk Boesser, who lives beside the highway on Kendon Place in Raumanga, was told by Waka Kotahi last month that the suggested route was "likely to have a direct impact" on his property.
Since then, the 58-year-old had become very stressed about the possibility of moving from his home, causing sleepless nights.
"I'm feeling homeless," he said.
"It's more than just a house, it's a home."
Boesser, who has owned the property for more than 15 years, said he had planned to retire there but now didn't know what he would do if he had to leave.
Otaika Dairy owner Hetal Patel said the future for businesses in the area was uncertain given the proposed route and how it would impact properties.
With the highway set to be completed in 2028, Patel expressed concern over what impact the significant roadworks operation would have on customers.
Otaika Takeaways owner Lisa Xu echoed Patel's uncertainty and said rumours were plentiful regarding what properties would and wouldn't be acquired should this route be confirmed.
She was also worried what impact the roadworks would have on her business, especially if it restricted access to the car parks in front of the shopping complex.
Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai said she knew first-hand 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.
"The sooner Waka Kotahi makes its final decisions, the better, because then you can start the process of knowing for certain what's going to stay and what's going to go.
"I just hope they don't find too many difficult bits of engineering that delay the project, that's my biggest fear."
Newly minted 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 echoed his successor, saying 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 fervently support any resident or business owner who needed it - even in his role in the opposition.
"Obviously, it's harder because you don't hold the tools of Treasury and the final decision making is no longer in your hands ... but you can still be very effective as opposition because the issues don't change."