Council urges Government to commit to completion of Ō2NL Expressway

Published on April 29, 2021

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Horowhenua District Council is alarmed and concerned at media speculation that the Ōtaki to North of Levin (Ō2NL) Expressway is in danger of being scrapped and that the Minister of Transport is unable to confirm commitment to the project.

It was only in December 2020 that Prime Minister Ardern officially commenced the Tara-Ika subdivision – the largest residential development in the history of Horowhenua – with the acknowledgement that growth forecasts in the region were considerable and investment in local infrastructure necessary.

“With significant growth in the region, the catalyst for much of that growth has been the knowledge that the roading network between Wellington and Levin would become safer and more efficient. Horowhenua District Mayor, Bernie Wanden says.

Being invited to be part of the Wellington Regional Growth Framework recognises that with the Expressway, Horowhenua can assist with the challenges that are faced in the Wellington Region, especially in the housing area.

Horowhenua District Mayor, Bernie Wanden also comments “This project has been through a number of different iterations over the years and finally we thought we had traction on what is a critical piece of the infrastructure puzzle for not only the Horowhenua but for the Lower North Island and the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Horowhenua community is again being placed in a position of uncertainty which is causing significant stress and anxiety to its residents and businesses. The state highway that splits our community is becoming busier by the day, posing increased risk to the safety of the community.

For many residents who live in the designated corridor, the impact has been great, with a number of properties either purchased by Waka Kotahi or have been signalled as being required for the Expressway. To have this conjecture and uncertainty at such a late stage in the project is not only unwarranted but is also totally unfair and cruel.”

Horowhenua District Council is in the middle of its Long Term Plan, with much of that planning, whether it be for Infrastructure or the future revitalisation of the Levin Town Centre, revolving around the Expressway being built and operational in 2029.

Council’s plea to Government is to put the speculation surrounding the future of this project to bed and to commit to ensuring the project is completed.