The fate of an expressway designed to save lives at a notorious roading black spot remains in limbo after the Government released its roading policy, despite the significant planning already completed.
It has left a council unable to properly plan for the future of its biggest town and the local MP describing the situation as “soul destroying”.
This is what happens when you have a Government that hates cars and roads.
Ōtaki MP Nathan Guy said the Levin expressway was “on the scrap heap” under the policy statement.
The expressway would help move traffic up the North Island, and link to Transmission Gully, the Kāpiti Expressway and Peka Peka to Ōtaki road project.
“It makes logical sense for the bulldozers to carry on, otherwise Levin will be the worst choke point in the lower North Island.”
The Levin expressway met the Government’s objective of road safety, which is highlighted in the policy statement, Guy said.
“This section [of road] should be a priority because it has claimed 11 lives in the last five years and seriously injured 43 motorists.”
That’s a real black spot.
Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen said the community was over the uncertainty.
“People’s lives and their plans are affected – our residents deserve certainty about the proposed route and also when it will occur.”
The council was about to start working on a Levin town centre strategy, which the expressway was a key part of, Feyen said.
Various other council projects had been delayed during the past few years due to the lack of a solid plan.
“This project has been on again, off again, for nearly a decade,” Feyen said.
The expressway would ease congestion and make life safer for motorists, he said.
There were constant crashes and floods on State Highway 1 south of Levin, forcing the road to be closed often.
But rejoice people living in Levin. There may be some light rail in Auckland!
UPDATE: The Government has now changed tune and said it will still happen. However I’d take that with a grain of salt considering how hard Labour and Green MPs fought against other roading projects in the area. Believe it once construction actually starts.