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Project introduction

The Ōtaki to north of Levin project is the northernmost section of the Wellington Northern Corridor and will improve the safety and resilience of the transport network connecting Ōtaki and Levin, and the wider region.

Refined draft preferred alignment

In the time since we released the draft preferred alignment in August 2020, we have been undertaking technical investigations to inform refinements to the alignment. Property owner, iwi, stakeholder and community feedback has also informed the adjustments in a number of areas.

Waka Kotahi is now ready to announce the ‘refined draft preferred alignment’ of the new highway, which represents the optimal location of the new road from the work to date.

More information about the ‘refined draft preferred alignment’, including a map of the corridor, can be found on the Ō2NL maps page.

Ō2NL maps page

  • Estimated project cost

    $1.5b (including contingencies) through NZ Upgrade Programme - costs will continue to be refined.
  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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Project update – August 2020

Investigation and initial concept design work has been progressing on the new highway in recent months to develop a draft preferred alignment for the new Ōtaki to north of Levin highway, within the 300m wide preferred corridor announced in December 2018.

Early in August 2020 Waka Kotahi started meeting with property owners within the draft preferred alignment area and is now able to share this work with the wider community.

The draft preferred alignment for the new highway has been assessed as the technically preferred option from our work to date across multiple fields, balancing project objectives, environmental and social impacts and ability to implement.

Technical specialists have conducted investigations in multiple areas such as ecology, heritage, social, noise, and engineering, assessing options for where the new highway could be placed within the preferred corridor as well as considering connections and local roads.

Following consultation and further technical work Waka Kotahi will consider refinements to the draft preferred alignment and work towards finalising the preferred alignment in late 2021.

To find out more about the draft preferred alignment please find our engagement display boards and brochure below:

Draft preferred alignment brochure [PDF, 1.5 MB]
Engagement display boards: part 1 [PDF, 2.9 MB]
Engagement display boards: part 2 [PDF, 15 MB]
Property information sheet [PDF, 259 KB]
Media release: Draft preferred alignment identified for Ōtaki to north of Levin – 26 August 2020

A preferred corridor for O2NL

In December 2018 a preferred corridor was selected from the shortlisted options for O2NL. The preferred corridor is the shortlisted option that runs closest to SH1 in the south and alongside SH57 in the north. It is a combination of the shortlisted options known as S6 and N4, which received support during community engagement.

The preferred corridor also takes into account (among a number of other factors) questions raised by the community regarding ecological, heritage, social, noise and vibration impacts.

Re-evaluating the project to align with the Government’s Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS)

When we engaged with the community in early 2018 we let people know we’d need to take into account the new Government’s transport system priorities as set out in the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport (GPS).

Government Policy Statement for Land Transport (GPS)(external link).

To ensure alignment with these priorities, a re-evaluation of the project was carried out, and we announced the outcome of this re-evaluation in October 2018.

Following re-evaluation, the re-focused plans include delivering short- and medium-term safety improvements, designating for a new route which will have allowance for four lanes in the future, and working to enhance public transport options and improve amenity within Levin.

The construction timing and form of this new route will depend on growth and funding priorities across the rest of the country.

Engaging with local communities

As the project progresses, we are working with local councils in the Horowhenua and Kāpiti districts and engaging with iwi, key stakeholders and community groups.

In June 2017, we sought the community’s view on the values, interests, issues and constraints associated with the Ōtaki to north of Levin project. The results of the community engagement were used to help develop corridor options for the project.

SH1 Ōtaki to north of Levin: Engagement summary report [PDF, 5.8 MB]

Between January and mid-March 2018, we provided our project partners, stakeholders and local community with an opportunity to review a shortlist of options and contribute to the selection of a preferred corridor for the O2NL project.

We heard that, in principle, the community supports the O2NL project and recognises something needs to be done to improve the safety and resilience on the stretch of SH1 and SH57 between Ōtaki and north of Levin.

In December 2018, we came back to the community with the preferred corridor and spoke with property owners who were potentially affected by the preferred corridor.

We will continue to work with these property owners and the wider community to further investigate and progress design of the road, within the preferred corridor.

The Northern Corridor

Over the past three years we have developed staged plans to improve the state highway network north of Wellington.

We have delivered safety improvements in Ōhau and Manakau. Initial monitoring of these improvements indicates the vast majority of traffic is now travelling at a speed more suitable for the area. Other safety improvements on the existing state highway in late 2018 and early 2019.

Work on the Wellington Northern Corridor is progressing and by 2020 an expressway will extend from Wellington to Ōtaki. To the north of Levin, the replacement of the Whirokino Trestle and Manawatū River Bridge is expected to be complete by early 2020 opening up this route to High Productivity Motor Vehicles, which will increase freight traffic (trucks) on this route.

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Project Contacts

Ōtaki to north of Levin project team –
More contact info
  • Phone: 0508 625 4636
  • Alternatively you can write to us:
    Ōtaki to north of Levin Project Team
    Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Level 5)
    Private Bag 6995
    Wellington 6141