Council welcomes second round of consultation on Expressway

Published on 08 February 2018


Horowhenua District Council welcomes NZ Transport Agency’s second round of the consultation on the proposed upgrade to State Highway 1 from Ōtaki to North of Levin (O2NL).

Council wants to encourage residents, property owners, iwi, community groups and businesses to go to the engagement sessions and to provide feedback on the proposals.

Mayor Michael Feyen says recent accidents and road closures demonstrate the need for the project – both from a local and national perspective – New Zealand needs a resilient and safe State Highway 1.

“State Highways 1 and 57 are high crash zones, and traffic counts are growing. Our community wants to be, and feel, safe both in our towns and out on the highways.”

Mayor Feyen says he understands why the western route is not an option and welcomes the clarity given by the reduced proposed routes.

“It will provide relief for some and anxiety for others. I want to ask everyone to be mindful of each other through this process.”

Mayor Feyen says it’s important that everyone has their say on the project, and that our community is given certainty.

Council’s Chief Executive, David Clapperton, says our population is growing faster than predicted and traffic counts are climbing.

“We not only need safer roads; the Levin town centre and our villages on the State Highway need to be more user-friendly for locals and inter-regional motorists and cyclists alike.”

Council’s Growth Response Manager, Daniel Haigh, says during the first round of consultation Council provided high-level feedback and the principles that should be adhered to. A copy of the submission is available on Council’s website on the Have Your Say page.

The NZ Transport Agency Project Reference Group (PRG), including Elected Members and Council Officers, along with members of the community, iwi and other stakeholders met in August last year to discuss outcomes of the Multi Criteria Analysis process. Following this, further investigations were undertaken including traffic modelling, constructability and continued discussions with tangata whenua. This information was reported back to the PRG prior to the commencement of the current public engagement.

Mr Haigh said yesterday, Elected Members attended a Council briefing to discuss what information they require to make an informed submission on behalf of the District.

Mayor Feyen says through this process and through talking with residents, key issues and considerations will be identified.

“This is a difficult situation and will have effects on individuals and neighbourhoods, as well as Councillors and Council staff,” says Mayor Feyen.

Meanwhile, Horowhenua District Council will take its Horowhenua Growth Strategy out for public consultation later this month – the final route of the Expressway will affect the strategy, and that will be followed by the Taitoko/Levin Town Centre Strategy.

Daniel Haigh says both of these strategies will be affected by the final route of the Expressway.

“We will need to keep making progress on these projects, taking into account the preferred Expressway route once it is known.”

NZ Transport Agency will make a recommendation to its Board in mid-2018 – the alignment is not considered a preferred option until the Board has endorsed it.

Information about the NZ Transport Agency engagement process can be found on Council’s website – however, residents are urged to visit the project page on the NZTA website to have their say.