A significant walking and cycling facility in the Horowhenua creates new opportunities alongside new offline highway
In the Horowhenua district lies an important part of the State Highway network—the Ōtaki to north of Levin (Ō2NL) corridor is shared by road freight, buses, active modes, and cars. It’s also one of the country’s most dangerous roads with more than 70 deaths and serious injuries on state highways in the project area in the last five years alone. The lack of alternate routes means regular travel disruptions, and the low-lying area and aging structures leaves the section at high risk of closure due to flooding or crashes, and subject to earthquake risk. The highway dissects several towns too, creating noise, severance, and amenity issues. The problems are being exacerbated due to high population growth.
Waka Kotahi wanted enhanced safety and resilience, better connections, more mode choice, and to support regional growth through improved reliability of movement of people and freight. Having been involved in the project for over a decade, we helped Waka Kotahi deliver the detailed business case to demonstrate the investment need for a new highway. Our business case role covered a wide range of services including problem identification, evidence collation, support for community engagement, option development and design, effects assessment, geotechnical investigation, and business case development. Before determining that a new offline corridor was the best option, we investigated safety improvements, minor realignments, land use changes, public transport and widening the existing corridor. Our robust methodology assessed all options while balancing client objectives with the project’s environmental, social, economic, and cultural effects, involved community and iwi partners, and found a value-for-money solution.
Improving safety and access, removing traffic from townships, and providing a significant new walking and cycling facility has earned strong local support from the community for the route to be built as soon as possible.
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