Big step for­ward for ex­press­way

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By BERNIE WANDEN HDC councillor

Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon was a big step for­ward for the O2NL road­ing project. While noth­ing con­crete has been de­cided on the route or tim­ing of the project it was ex­tremely re­as­sur­ing to hear that it is still go­ing to hap­pen. Al­though there will be some who think a two-lane high­way is not an ideal sit­u­a­tion com­pared to a four-lane ex­press­way, it is a huge step for­ward com­pared to not hav­ing a new road at all, as many had pre­dicted.

While ini­tially only twolane, the new road will be des­ig­nated to en­sure that when de­mand and traf­fic vol­umes grow there is the ca­pac­ity to add an­other two lanes. Be­sides the pro­posed new high­way, there will be safety im­prove­ments for SH1 and SH57, plus a fo­cus on pro­vid­ing pub­lic trans­port in the re­gion, whether it be rail or bus.

On Wed­nes­day, NZ Trans­port Au­thor­ity (NZTA) pre­sented to Coun­cil the way for­ward for the project, in­di­cat­ing that the project aligns with the Gov­ern­ment’s Pol­icy State­ment and trans­port pri­or­i­ties, that it pro­vides the right out­comes in terms of safety and re­silience, and that it is value for money.

NZTA con­firmed that the pre­ferred route will be from the short-listed op­tions al­ready on the ta­ble and will be made pub­lic in De­cem­ber. I know this means there is still some un­cer­tainty for many res­i­dents, but hope­fully the long wait will be over shortly and you will be able to get on and plan your fu­tures.

This is good news for the fu­ture of the district and will only en­hance the growth that is al­ready hap­pen­ing. While the ac­tual road may be some years away from be­ing com­pleted, it will give con­fi­dence to those think­ing of com­ing here and to those al­ready here that this district is a great place to in­vest in.

Our chal­lenge now is of course to make sure we are ready and pre­pared for that growth: that we make Levin town cen­tre an at­trac­tive and vi­brant place; that we pro­vide the ameni­ties and in­fra­struc­ture to en­sure Horowhenua con­tin­ues to be a great place to live, and that we make our com­mu­nity a re­silient and safe one.

The new high­way will only be one as­pect of that, but it is an im­por­tant part of the puzzle to en­sure we have a pos­i­tive fu­ture.

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