Expressway: Rain Stops Play

While we’re not yet in a position to confirm an opening date, based on current progress we’re confident that the road will be safely completed and open to traffic well ahead of the originally scheduled completion date of June 2017. NZTA, December 2017

Regular rain holds up progress

Story by Roger Childs, photos by Pam Childs

Wharemauku bridges
Wharemauku bridges

The Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway was due to be completed mid 2017. However excellent progress was made in 2016 and through to the middle of this year.

A friendly bridge builder on the Wharemauku project told me in July that it would probably be open by Christmas and that John Key would whizz past in his limousine and wave to poor guys like me!

Wrong on two counts! However, although the very wet spring has slowed the progress, a mid February inauguration complete with open days, formalities and fun runs is still on the cards. 

Precipitation good for plants but not for sealing

Some of the 1.3 million plants!
Some of the 1.3 million plants!

Kapiti gardeners will have been delighted with the warm, wet conditions over the last few months. Certainly the million plus trees, shrubs and flaxes put in by Natural Habitats along the expressway have lapped up the moisture and

Building the cycleway/walkway north from the Wharemauku Stream
Building the cycleway/walkway north from the Wharemauku Stream

all the planted areas along the 16 kilometre stretch are flourishing.

However, good news for the vegetation people has been bad news for the road crews. Basically they need the prospect of three dry days to be confident the final sealing will “take”, but unfortunately the regular rain in October and November has provided limited opportunities for finishing the surfacing.

Nevertheless excellent progress has been made on the cycleways/walkways where a rotten rock base topped with chip-seal is not affected by the weather. Not only have the vast majority of these paths been completed, but also the lighting and signage.

Kapiti community keen to see completion

Looking south towards Raumati, The Wharemauku Bridge is on the left. The new cycleway runs along the seaward side.
Looking south towards Raumati: the Wharemauku Bridge is on the left. The new cycleway/walkway runs along the seaward side.

Locals will be delighted to see the Mackays – Peka Peka project completed.

Drivers have been very patient putting up with road diversions, stop-go processes, thousands of cones and speed restrictions.

The outcome will be worthwhile, as the clear run for through traffic along the new route will significantly ease local road congestion.

Also for those on foot, bikes and horses, there will be a whole new world to explore.