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.