Ōtaki to North of Levin (Ō2NL) highway becoming a reality

Published on May 19, 2023

O2NL highway

Horowhenua District Council welcomes the news that the Minister of Transport Michael Wood has at last confirmed the Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway (Ō2NL) will be constructed.

Mayor Bernie Wanden says “There has been much conjecture and uncertainty with the project over a number of years now, so to finally hear and read the Minister’s commitment to the project is extremely encouraging. While we are still waiting to receive the official green light from Government to proceed with Ō2NL, this is a significant milestone for our district, and we’re excited to be moving forward with this vital infrastructure project.”

“We know that the new highway will provide a safer and more efficient transport route for all road users and be transformational in supporting economic growth and development, not only in our district but across the wider region. Along with the recent Capital Connection rail announcement, this investment in the region will have significant benefits for all.”

The project includes the construction of a four-lane expressway with a range of safety features, including median barriers, wider shoulders, and new intersections. Approximately 21km of a total 24km of the new highway is proposed to be built within the Horowhenua District.

“We would like to thank the Government for their support and for recognising the importance of this project for our community. We would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Waka Kotahi, Council staff across the rohe, contractors, technical experts, our partners Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and Ngāti Raukawa and other stakeholders to get it to this stage,” adds Mayor Bernie.

Construction of the Ō2NL highway project and the shared walking and cycling path is expected to begin in 2025, and is scheduled to be completed by 2029. We will work closely with the community and stakeholders during this time to minimise disruption and ensure everyone is informed of progress.

“This announcement brings us a step closer to safer, easier and faster travel between Levin and the capital. We look forward to delivering this vital project to our community and the benefits it will bring for years,” Mayor Bernie ends.

The community is invited to visit the Ō2NL Levin project office on Thursday 1 June 2023, from 12 noon to 6pm, to learn more about the new highway. 

Background information

The Ōtaki to North of Levin (Ō2NL) Highway 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.