Ex­press­way faces work to re­pair leaks

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

The slow lanes on the freshly minted Ka¯piti ex­press­way are leak­ing, and 14 kilo­me­tres of it will need re­seal­ing, the NZ Trans­port Agency has re­vealed.

Project delivery se­nior man­ager Chris Hunt said a fix would re­quire re­seal­ing long stretches of the 18km ex­press­way in both di­rec­tions, and the agency would be foot­ing its share of the bill.

The ex­press­way, through the Ka¯piti Coast north of Welling­ton, started de­vel­op­ing dis­coloured cracks only months af­ter it opened in Fe­bru­ary.

In June the agency con­firmed work would be needed to ad­dress ‘‘pave­ment is­sues’’ along about 1.26km around the Ka¯piti Rd in­ter­change in Para­pa­raumu.

On Fri­day, Hunt said the re­pair method would now ‘‘re­quire around 14km of both the north and south­bound slow lanes to be re­sealed’’.

The mem­bers of the ex­press­way Al­liance, a con­sor­tium of con­trac­tors and NZTA, would be shar­ing the costs of the work.

Hunt said con­trac­tors were called in af­ter the ex­press­way showed ‘‘signs of mi­nor fa­tigue’’ in May.

Water was leak­ing through a seal be­tween the base – or pave­ment – and the as­phalt.

‘‘This has sub­se­quently loos­ened small par­ti­cles in the top of the pave­ment, which causes the dis­coloura­tion and tex­ture changes.’’

Hunt said there were 3.2km of af­fected seal, spread over the ex­press­way’s slow lanes, which ex­pe­ri­enced the heav­i­est traf­fic.

‘‘These ar­eas will be treated by re­duc­ing the num­ber of joints in the pave­ment, and join­ing sections to­gether to pro­vide a more wa­ter­tight and smoother sur­face for mo­torists.’’

This would amount to about 14km of slow lanes be­ing re­sealed.

The re­pairs were ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of the sum­mer work sea­son, next year.

‘‘Un­til we’re able to de­fine the ex­act ex­tent of the is­sue and the ar­eas for re­me­dial works, the cost is un­known.’’

The ex­press­way, one of the Govern­ment’s roads of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance, was com­pleted months ahead of sched­ule, but Hunt said the ap­pli­ca­tion of the seal was not rushed.

‘‘The is­sue ap­pears to have been caused by the un­ex­pected pen­e­tra­tion of mois­ture through the mem­brane seal.’’

Ka¯piti res­i­dent Ian McIn­tosh, who com­mutes to Welling­ton four days a week, said the road had been ‘‘break­ing up ever since it opened’’.

‘‘They are cracks in the sur­face, rather than big pot­holes. It’s as if the road is wa­ter­logged un­der­neath,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of the dis­coloura­tion, you’ll find it on the shoul­der. It’s as if, when traf­fic goes across the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing sur­face, it’s al­most squeez­ing water out.’’

McIn­tosh said that, apart from a few ini­tial con­ges­tion prob­lems, the ex­press­way had made a big dif­fer­ence to his com­mute, elim­i­nat­ing con­ges­tion be­tween Para­pa­raumu and Waikanae.

Ka¯piti Coast Mayor K Gu­runathan said the prob­lem was ‘‘un­for­tu­nate’’, and he ex­pected the new seal would be of the same low-noise grade as the first.

MARK COOTE

The Po­plar Ave in­ter­change un­der con­struc­tion. Po­plar Ave is one of the main trou­ble spots for the leaky seal.

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