More than just a highway
Story by Roger Childs, Photos by Pam Childs
The massive development of the Wharemauku Stream zone illustrates the wide range of benefits for the community from building the expressway.
The Wharemauku Bridge is one of sixteen which will facilitate the rapid movement of vehicles wishing to by-pass the Kapiti area. This separation of through traffic from town traffic will dramatically reduce congestion on local roads. However, many of the surrounding features of the project will enhance the quality of life for locals.
Wetlands, well-lit pathways, flood control and bank plantings are big pluses from the Mackays to Peka Peka project.
The Wharemauku Stream is normally a narrow, gently flowing waterway. However there have been three floods in the last 18 months where the banks have overflowed and, in some cases people, have had to evacuate from their homes.
With the development of wetlands either side of the expressway, there is now a system in place to take the stream’s overflow. When the waters rise bank to bank, the overflow ponds in the wetlands where there is a system of channels, culverts, swales and terminal ponds.
These areas are densely planted so that the vegetation can also play a role in soaking up flood water.
Kapiti readers will be familiar with the superb 6km chip-sealed track from Tilley Road in Paekakariki to Poplar Avenue in Raumati South.
Once open in a few weeks, it will continue from Leinster Avenue and run north the full distance on the expressway to Peka Peka. Along the way there are various access points from local roads and the entire track is chip-sealed and well lit.
The track crosses on the bridges at Raumati Road and the Waikanae River, however it has its own separate bridge over the Wharemauku Stream.
Once the tracks are open, locals of all ages will have new places to safely walk, run, ride and bike.
Furthermore, the environments either side of the expressway have been planted with over a million shrubs, flaxes and trees, and large areas have been grassed. As these plants mature, the areas where people will be taking their exercise will become more and more attractive.