One of the most complex road projects in the lower North Island is entering the final stretch, says Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency). Work on the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP2Ō) is almost three-quarters complete.
“PP2Ō is an extremely complex infrastructure project, with constantly changing demands and challenges,” says Andrew Thackwray, Manager Infrastructure Delivery.
“It is going to be a fantastic addition to the state highway network in the Wellington region and we know how much the community is looking forward to using it.”
Ten new — bridges and rail line moved
The project has been a mammoth undertaking, involving construction of 10 bridges, including the 330m long Ōtaki River bridge, a 1.3km realignment of the North Island Main Trunk Line, and the construction of almost 9km of local roads — all this, plus challenging ground conditions and extensive cultural and heritage considerations.
Since construction on the PP2Ō project began in 2017 there have been numerous changes to the project, including the design and construction of a shared walking and cycling path alongside the expressway and upgrades to the road pavement and surface, which will result in reduced road noise and lower maintenance costs.
While PP2Ō was one of the first major projects nationwide to get back up and running after the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown, the disruption, along with other changes and challenges, has impacted the timeframe.
Since the Level 4 lockdown in 2020, Waka Kotahi and Fletcher Construction have been negotiating a new opening date and contract completion date, recognising changes to the project and unforeseen challenges.
Open to traffic in late 2022
And Waka Kotahi now expects the expressway to open late next year.
“As we get closer to completion, we will have more certainty about an opening date and how the new road will change people’s journeys throughout the region,” says Mr Thackwray.
“PP2Ō is a 13km, grade-separated expressway offering major safety improvements, increased travel reliability, and less congestion at major pinch points such as Ōtaki.“
When the four-lane expressway opens it will connect to the 18km Mackays to Peka Peka expressway and the 27km Transmission Gully motorway to provide more reliable journeys to and from Wellington.