The Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway, north of Wellington, will be fully open to traffic before Christmas and Waka Kotahi wants to make sure people are ready for the changes the new state highway will bring.
Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Jetesh Bhula, says the road will make journeys in and out of the capital easier, safer and more reliable.
“We know people will be excited to try the new road in time for the holidays, and we’re thrilled to be able to open it before Christmas.”
Mr Bhula says people should plan ahead to make the most of the newest section of State Highway 1 after it opens.
“Peka Peka to Ōtaki will have a phased opening over several days, beginning on the evening of Wednesday, 21 December and being fully open on Friday, 23 December. This means that different parts of the road will open in sequence to allow for things like barrier tensioning and final line marking to be carried out. The whole expressway won’t open all at once, and drivers should be prepared for lower speed limits and traffic management over this initial period.”
“Traffic will flow more smoothly up to Ōtaki from Wellington/Kāpiti, and people’s travel times will be more reliable. While the new expressway will help to alleviate the holiday queues and delays, we’re used to seeing south of Ōtaki, and in the town itself, we expect that there will still be some congestion on SH1 further north towards Levin during the peak holiday traffic. We’re asking people to plan ahead and expect some delays, especially leading up to Christmas and over the busy holiday period when traffic volumes are highest.”
There will be temporarily reduced speed limits at the southern and northern ends of the expressway as it is integrated into the existing network. Drivers should take extra care in these areas. Contractors will return in the New Year to finish these sections.
Jetesh Bhula says while the road is built to the highest standards and is far safer than the road it replaces, it is likely to see extra traffic with people keen to check it out.
“Please enjoy the new road. Our contractors have worked long and hard to open it under some very challenging conditions, including bad weather and COVID-19 staff shortages, and delays in the delivery of materials. But be aware there may be a lot of other drivers wanting to experience it too. Expect heavy traffic, drive safely, and make sure you get to your destination safely.”
More information on how to drive the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway is available on the Waka Kotahi website.
There is also a short video explaining how the new expressway will affect local communities.
A lot of effort has gone into incorporating cultural elements into the expressway with the help of local iwi Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki.
In addition, the team has worked hard to preserve and improve the environment in the surrounding area. This includes: