The NZ Transport Agency has committed to undertake the next steps in the long term planning for a new transport corridor between Ōtaki and north of Levin, as well as to progress with safety improvements on the existing State Highway 1 as an immediate priority.
Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says the Agency will now move ahead on a series of critical next steps to build on the work already done to plan the new route. This includes undertaking the detailed business case and designation, as well as ensuring safety is improved on the existing State Highway 1 in the short term.
“Confirming the designation of the new route will help us identify where it will ultimately sit within the preferred 300 metre corridor, securing it for the future and providing certainty for current and future development, as well as land owners. The Transport Agency will then be able to purchase directly affected properties, as per the legislated process.
“These steps are an important part of the long term transport network planning process. Construction will not begin until these steps are complete, and when funding is made available in the future. Given current funding is heavily constrained, this is not expected in the next ten years.
“We acknowledge that a lack of certainty around this project has created real frustration for many people, especially those living or with property along this corridor. We are writing to property owners in the preferred corridor now and will work directly with them as we proceed through the next steps.”
To improve safety in the short term, ahead of longer term solutions, upgrades will be made along 23.4 kilometres of the existing state highway, running along State Highway 1 from the end of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway to Taylors Road, and along State Highway 57 from the intersection with State Highway 1 to the previously-completed safety improvements.
The safety improvements are expected to include the installation of new median barriers, roadside barriers and wide centrelines, along with consideration of a new roundabout at the State Highway 57/Queen Street intersection and new turnaround facilities at State Highway 1/State Highway 57.
Ms Speight says a review of speed limits on State Highway 1 from Ōtaki to Levin will also begin in the near future, which the Transport Agency will talk with the community about.
“While technical advice will be an important part of these reviews, local knowledge and experience of using these roads is also vital to this process, and we will be actively seeking input and feedback from the community.
“We are also continuing to investigate funding for further safety improvements on the existing State Highway 1 to the north of Levin. Safety improvements on two level crossings in the region will also get underway shortly.”
A number of safety improvements were also completed in December last year, including the installation of flexible posts on flush medians, static signs and the repainting of existing road markings. High risk signage from Levin to Foxton was also installed in early 2019.