Confirmed: new expressway needs repairs
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.’’