Con­firmed: new ex­press­way needs re­pairs

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - DAMIAN GE­ORGE

Just a few months af­ter it opened, the $630 mil­lion Kapiti ex­press­way will un­dergo re­pair work to fix ‘‘pave­ment is­sues’’ on the road sur­face.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency sig­nalled a cou­ple of weeks ago that re­pair work was pos­si­ble on sec­tions of the ex­press­way be­tween Para­pa­raumu and Waikanae, due to dis­coloura­tion and changes to the sur­face.

The prob­lems have oc­curred along just over one kilo­me­tre in the south­bound lane, and about 260 me­tres in the north­bound lane, in the vicin­ity of Kapiti Rd.

Mean­while, NZTA is start­ing work to ex­tend the merg­ing zone at the MacKays Cross­ing end of the ex­press­way in an ef­fort to re­lieve con­ges­tion dur­ing the south­bound morn­ing peak.

It hopes that ex­tend­ing the merg­ing point about 200 me­tres to the north should al­low an ex­tra 100 ve­hi­cles an hour through the choke­point at peak travel times.

Act­ing high­way man­ager Chris Hunt con­firmed on Mon­day that re­pair work to the ex­press­way sur­face would be needed, though the cause of the is­sue was not yet known.

Road sam­ples had been taken for test­ing, and the agency ex­pected to know by the end of the week what the prob­lem was.

‘‘We will then be able to de­cide what re­me­dial work will be needed at the lo­ca­tions af­fected.’’

The agency said ear­lier this month that the sur­face in the af­fected ar­eas had be­come lighter than other ar­eas, and the tex­ture had be­come rougher.

The prob­lem was not get­ting any worse, but the agency would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the road’s con­di­tion, Hunt said. The is­sue did not pose any risks to mo­torists.

In re­sponse to a ques­tion about whether it was nor­mal for new road sur­faces to have prob­lems so soon af­ter open­ing, and whether it could be at­trib­uted to the ma­te­ri­als used, Hunt said in a state­ment: ‘‘The is­sues we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing with the road sur­face were not an­tic­i­pated.’’

Work on the MacKays Cross­ing merge point comes af­ter NZTA fig­ures showed that, while the ex­press­way had shaved min­utes off the morn­ing south­bound jour­ney from Peka Peka to MacKays Cross­ing, it had cre­ated a bot­tle­neck at the merge point. Travel times dur­ing the early morn­ing peak head­ing south from Rau­mati were longer than be­fore the ex­press­way opened in Fe­bru­ary.

It said re­cently the merge point was too nar­row, and ex­tend­ing it could help im­prove traf­fic flow.

‘‘The agency is cur­rently com­plet­ing a safety re­view of the pro­posed re­lo­ca­tion of the MacKays Cross­ing merge point 200 me­tres north of its ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tion,’’ Hunt said.

‘‘We can’t con­firm the fi­nal de­sign or im­ple­men­ta­tion dates un­til this safety re­view is com­pleted.’’

‘‘The is­sues we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing with the road sur­face were not an­tic­i­pated.’’

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