Safety upgrades and certainty for Ōtaki highway

  • Hon Phil Twyford

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today welcomed the NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fund urgent safety improvements and confirm the designation of the Ōtaki to North of Levin highway.

Safety upgrades will be made along 23.4km of the existing state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway to Levin, and along SH57 from the intersection with SH1 to the previously-completed safety improvements north of Levin. 

Confirming the designation of the new route will help identify where the road will ultimately sit.

Phil Twyford says the Government is getting on with building transport infrastructure around the country after years of neglect.

“The road from Ōtaki to the north of Levin has one of the highest accident rates in the country and these life-saving upgrades help reduce it. 

“Safety is our top transport priority and we’re upgrading over 3,300kms of state highways across the country after a 50 per cent increase in road deaths under the last government.

“In addition to improving safety, the community has been calling for the designation for the two additional lanes for some time.

“NZTA’s decision to bring forward the designation will give the community and property owners the certainty they have been looking for.

“I know that some local residents favoured a four-lane motorway, but the cost and economic value of that simply doesn’t stack up. We can’t go back to the days of spending 40 per cent of the transport budget on just a few projects while the number of deaths and serious injuries increase every year,” Phil Twyford said.

Immediate improvements are expected to include median barriers, roadside barriers and wide centrelines along with consideration of a new roundabout at the SH57/Queen Street intersection and turnaround facilities at SH1/SH57. Construction will start in the next few months.

NZTA will also complete a detailed business case and investigate funding for further safety improvements on the existing SH1 to the north of Levin. The total cost of the upgrades, detailed business case and designation is $51 million and funding will be allocated as project milestones are reached.

A number of safety improvements were completed last December, including flexible posts on flush medians, static signs and the repainting of existing road markings. High risk signage from Levin to Foxton was installed early this year.