Peka Peka gets its in­ter­change

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

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.

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