The stress a Horowhenua couple have been living under after finding out their home of 35 years is in the likely path of a new expressway has been partially eased after better compensation has been offered .
Jane and Norman Wood, who are in their 70s, have been living under a cloud of uncertainty, the stress of which has had a particularly severe impact on Norman, who suffered a traumatic brain injury four years ago.
Jane said her husband's health and mental state deteriorated rapidly as he came to understand he may have to leave the North Manakau Rd property where the couple have built their lives over more than three decades.
Concern for Norman's health was such that the pair felt they had no choice but to request an early buy-out of their property so they could start afresh elsewhere, despite not wanting to move.
However, this meant they became ineligible for compensations the NZ Transport Agency was offering to residents whose affected property is their dwelling.
After a Horowhenua Chronicle story earlier this month, Jane said she had received visits from NZTA representatives who had told her they would now pay the compensation and relocation costs for the couple, which, while not yet confirmed, she understood to total around $50,000.
The payment would ease things considerably for the couple, who were in negotiations to purchase a property in Hawke's Bay, where Jane said she hoped Norman's health would improve.
NZTA's director of regional relationships Emma Speight said the agency had been working with potentially affected property owners and could not comment on details, but that it was working to get the best possible solution in each case.
An announcement on the preferred route option for the Ōtaki to North of Levin (O2NL) expressway section is expected to be announced in later this month.