Ōtaki to North of Levin Highway


Project Update - 24 January 2023

Waka Kotahi have lodged Notices of Requirement (NoR) and applications for Resource Consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), with Horowhenua District Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Horizons Regional Council and Wellington Regional Council. This marks the start of the RMA  process for the Ōtaki to North of Levin (Ō2NL) highway project.

The application documents are available for viewing on Waka Kotahi website. Waka Kotahi will also provide hard copies of the application for viewing in each of the Council’s service centres. These are expected to be available from 24 January 2023.

Notification and process

These applications have been publically notified and are now open for submissions. This means that anyone can make a submission on the proposal. As there are four Councils involved in this process, Horizons Regional Council are managing the submission process. You can find all the information including application material and how to make a submission and on the Horizons Regional Council website

Submissions close on 28 February 2023.

You can find more information on The construction and operation, maintenance and improvement of the Ōtaki to North of Levin Highway Project public notice.

Waka Kotahi have requested the application go straight to the Environment Court for consideration (this process is called direct referral). The reasons for this are set out in the application, but include the significance and complexity of the project (including that it extends across four Councils) and the high level of public interest. This request has been approved by all four Councils. This means that the applications will be heard and decided by the Environment Court.

The Ōtaki to North of Levin (Ō2NL) Expressway is a Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (WKNZTA) project.

The existing State Highway network through Horowhenua has some of New Zealand’s most dangerous roads - 49 deaths and serious injuries occurred in the five years to 2017.

The aim of developing the expressway is to:

  • improve road safety;
  • accommodate population growth – by 2040, more than 130,548 people will live in Horowhenua and Kāpiti 
  • accommodate expected future traffic volumes;
  • improve the resilience of the transport network connecting Ōtaki and Levin; and
  • improve regional connectivity by strengthening the strategic economic link from Wellington through to the central North Island.

The expressway was on and off the table for over a decade, creating much anxiety. However, in 2018, a preferred corridor for the new 24.2 km Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway was publicly announced. 

In 2020, central government committed $817 million towards the construction of the four-lane highway. The project includes a separated shared path for walking and cycling.

Construction is set to start in 2025 and be completed in 2029.

In 2021, WKNZTA carried out a consultation regarding the final designated corridor.

Promised Safety Improvements

The communities that live along State Highway 1 and State Highway 57 have voiced concerns about the existing road network's poor safety record for more than a decade. It is one of the most dangerous sections of roads in Aotearoa.

While the community welcomed the decision to proceed with Ō2NL, the existing network's condition remained top of mind. Following public pressure, WKNZTA announced in 2019 that it would fund “urgent safety improvements”.

In late 2020, WKNZTA carried out a consultation regarding safety improvements on SH57, and work on those improvements is expected to start in 2021. Further consultation regarding safety improvements south of Levin is anticipated in 2021 as well.  

Key Dates

2017: WKNZTA consultation first round


  • WKNZTA consultation second round 
  • WKNZTA revaluation
  • Preferred corridor announced


  • Government funding announced
  • WKNZTA announces ‘urgent safety improvements to existing network’


  • WKNZTA final consultation to determine designation of route
  • WKNZTA consultation regarding safety improvements on SH57

2021 (anticipated only):

  • WKNZTA to announce designation of route.
  • WKNZTA consultation regarding safety improvements on SH1 – Levin south
  • WKNZTA to construct safety improvements on SH57


  • RMA process

2025: Construction starts.

Find out more

This is an NZTA engagement process, please visit www.nzta.govt.nz/Ō2NL to find out more.

Photo of Kapiti Expressway (above): Mark Coote  -  www.markcoote.com