Leak­ing ex­press­way re­quires re­pairs

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - DAMIAN GE­ORGE

Water is seep­ing through the seal on the $630 mil­lion Kapiti ex­press­way, mean­ing it will have to be re­paired within months of open­ing.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency con­firmed in June that re­me­dial work would be needed to ad­dress ‘‘pave­ment is­sues’’ on the 18-kilo­me­tre ex­press­way north of Welling­ton, but at the time was un­able to say why.

On Tues­day it said tests on road sam­ples had shown the prob­lem ap­peared to be caused by water seep­ing through the mem­brane seal, which is meant to act as a wa­ter­proof­ing layer be­low the as­phalt.

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

Agency high­way man­ager Chris Hunt said re­pair work would be done later this year or early next year, though it was un­clear what the work would in­volve, or what it would cost.

‘‘Un­til we are able to iden­tify what the re­me­dial work will be, we can­not con­firm how long it will take. But it is likely that the work will be car­ried out off-peak and staged to min­imise the dis­rup­tion to mo­torists.’’

The fail­ure of the road’s wa­ter­proof­ing ma­te­ri­als at the prob­lem ar­eas had led to dis­col­oration and the loos­en­ing of fine par­ti­cles, Hunt said.

While the road would con­tinue to be closely mon­i­tored, the is­sues did not pose any risk to mo­torists.

The agency used a por­ous as­phalt to cover the road sur­face, which was con­sid­ered the most ap­pro­pri­ate for the con­di­tions.

‘‘We are still work­ing with our tech­ni­cal ex­perts to find out how water man­aged to pen­e­trate the seal.’’

It was not un­com­mon for re­me­dial work to be needed on newly-opened high­ways, but the is­sues on the ex­press­way were un­ex­pected, Hunt said.

The first sec­tion of the ex­press­way was of­fi­cially opened on Fe­bru­ary 24.

AA road safety spokesman Dy­lan Thom­sen said the is­sue was af­fect­ing only a small part of the ex­press­way and was not hav­ing any im­pact on mo­torists.

‘‘Ideally, in any ma­jor project, you want to ev­ery­thing to go ab­so­lutely per­fectly, but that al­most never hap­pens.’’

Kapiti Mayor K Gu­runathan said while the is­sue was un­ex­pected, he wel­comed the NZTA’s proac­tive re­sponse.

PHOTO: JOEL MAXWELL/ STUFF

The re­cently opened Kapiti ex­press­way needs re­me­dial work.

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