Options for the upgrade of the state highways between Foxton and Otaki will be presented to the public next week.
A $200 million upgrade to state highways 1 and 57 in the area is planned as part of the four-lane Wellington Northern Corridor upgrade that also includes the Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully.
New Zealand Transport Agency's Wellington state highways manager Rod James said the agency was hosting information days to share the proposals with the community, and was encouraging residents to share their views to help it develop the plans further.
Mr James said the improvements would help to make it easier and safer to get around between Otaki and north of Levin.
"We want to hear from the community so that we can get the best overall result for people. We're holding public information days at three different locations during the first week of May, so you can pop in at your convenience to have a look at the proposed improvements, chat to our project team and tell us what you think.
"The plans are about making improvements to the safety and efficiency of SH1 and SH57 along the Wellington Northern Corridor. This upgrade will provide the biggest single investment this highway network has seen since it was built, and will help to make travel safer and trips shorter."
Otaki MP Nathan Guy said with such a significant development on the cards it was important people had their say.
"An upgrade is long overdue and will greatly improve safety by eliminating accident blackspots and some of the narrow old rail bridges.
"This will be the biggest upgrade of this highway since it was built, and one of the biggest government investments into the Horowhenua region.
"This investment includes a new trestle bridge over the floodway at the Manawatu River.
"The improved highway will connect with the new Kapiti expressways and Transmission Gully to the south, making us the gateway to Wellington," Mr Guy said.
Proposed improvements include installing more passing lanes on SH1, widening the road edges, installing median barriers, replacing old and narrow bridges, changing intersection layouts and improving walking and cycling facilities.
Mr James said that the road between Otaki and north of Levin was a strategically important section of highway with high freight volumes, and it was a vital connection for the capital, both between Palmerston North and SH1 further north.
"The Otaki to north of Levin section is more than just a highway - it's a hub. It has the crucial job of linking the lower North Island with the north, east and west, particularly for our freight and agriculture industries."
Public information meetings are planned for Manakau Community Hall on Wednesday from 2pm until 9pm, Thursday at Ohau School Hall from 2pm until 9pm and on Saturday at Levin War Memorial Hall from 10am until 4pm.
- Manawatu Standard
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