SH1 ex­press­way fin­ish­ing ahead of sched­ule


‘‘In just a few weeks' time this con­nec­tion will open to de­liver smoother and safer jour­neys for ev­ery­one.’’

Ladies and gen­tle­men, start your en­gines for the $630 mil­lion first sec­tion of the Kapiti ex­press­way.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges has an­nounced the Mack­ays to Peka Peka sec­tion of the ex­press­way will open this month, with a ‘‘com­ple­tion event’’ to be held on Fe­bru­ary 16. It will open to traf­fic ‘‘later this month’’.

Bridges said the open­ing would be four months ahead of the orig­i­nal sched­uled com­ple­tion date.

The ex­press­way is a $630m, 18-kilo­me­tre four-lane ex­press­way through the Kapiti Coast, north of Welling­ton, and in­cludes 18 bridges and 16km of walk­ing and cy­cle­ways.

Bridges said the early open­ing was a ‘‘great out­come’’ for the Kapiti Coast and the wider re­gion.

‘‘In just a few weeks’ time this con­nec­tion will open to de­liver smoother and safer jour­neys for ev­ery­one,’’ he said on Tues­day.

The news was not nec­es­sar­ily bad for Bar­bara Paranihi, of Makarini St, Para­pa­raumu. Her back deck was only me­tres away from the new road and lights would shine into her lounge.

How­ever, she said the open­ing would mean an end to con­struc­tion that had taken place for more than two years. She had grown up liv­ing near rail­way lines and wasn’t both­ered by the noise, but was con­cerned about foot traf­fic – peo­ple walk­ing through plant­ings be­side the road and look­ing in on her back deck.

Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gu­runathan said he hoped trav­ellers did not en­joy the road so much that it car­ried traf­fic past the dis­trict.

Kapiti would have to work to en­sure it kept at­tract­ing trav­ellers, but he hoped the road would mean an eas­ier com­mute to work in Welling­ton, and would draw more res­i­dents to the coast.

Otaki MP Nathan Guy, who cam­paigned hard in favour of the ex­press­way, said he was ‘‘de­lighted’’ with the news.

‘‘There was con­cern from some at the start of the process, but now the feel­ing is over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive.’’

In the Tues­day an­nounce­ment it was re­vealed the com­mu­nity would be in­vited to a Kapiti Coast Ex­press Day, which will be a chance for peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence the road be­fore it opens to traf­fic. It did not spec­ify a date.

In Novem­ber, Bridges an­nounced that Fletcher Con- struc­tion would build the $330m Peka Peka to Otaki sec­tion of the ex­press­way, with work start­ing in mid-2017.

The ex­press­way is part of the Welling­ton North­ern Cor­ri­dor, which stretches from Welling­ton Air­port to just north of Levin.

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