Peka Peka gets its interchange
Frustrated drivers at the northern end of the Kapiti expressway have been given some good news: a full interchange will finally be built, allowing Peka Peka commuters to get on and off in both directions.
The interchange, which the NZ Transport Agency had previously said was not in its plans, was announced by Transport Minister Simon Bridges on Friday as he turned the first sod to mark the start of the next section of the expressway, from Peka Peka to Otaki.
Bridges said he was ‘‘relatively confident’’ the interchange, and an extended cycleway through to Otaki, could be built within the new section’s $330 million budget.
‘‘I’m not going to design it for you today, in terms of exactly where on the map it will go, but I think the local people can have confidence that we’ve heard the feedback.’’
Since the expressway was opened in February, people at the northern end had complained about ‘‘the inability to get in and out of the local community’’, Bridges said.
At present, drivers from Peka Peka cannot turn south on to the expressway, and northbound commuters cannot get off at Peka Peka. They are meant to get on and off at the Te Moana Rd junction in Waikanae, and use local roads.
Finance and Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce dropped a hint about a new interchange in April, when he told a Kapiti business meeting that he supported it.
Otaki MP Nathan Guy said on Friday that, if the new section of the expressway had gone ahead without the revised interchange, people who missed the Waikanae off-ramp would have faced a lengthy drive.
‘‘Effectively without the interchange, you have to do a round trip of about 25 kilometres.’’
Bridges said the interchange should not require an expanded budget. ‘‘We’re able to get really good efficiencies, get really good prices and build times, and I’m confident this will be the same.’’
The announcement comes after the budget for the Peka Peka to Otaki section already had a hefty price increase. The green light for the section was given in November last year, but the budget went up from $250m to $330m.
It was the latest section of roading projects north of Wellington, with the $850m Transmission Gully route in the south, and the MacKays to Peka Peka section in the middle. The remaining sections are scheduled for completion in 2020, creating a continuous four-lane road from Linden, near Tawa, to just north of Otaki.
Bridges said NZTA would be investigating the funding and exact location of the Peka Peka interchange.
Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan said the council would ‘‘want to have a korero’’ on the plans.