Work on the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway has been under way for a year. Minister of Transport Simon Bridges visited the M2PP Alliance this month to help celebrate the birthday.
A visit by Transport Minister Simon Bridges to the central site office of the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway marked the first birthday of construction work on this Roads of National Significance project. Mr Bridges was joined by his ministerial colleague and local Otaki MP, Nathan Guy.
Previous Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee hopped in a digger to turn the first sod in 2013. Mr Bridges’ first visit to this key project for the Wellington region was somewhat more sedate. He and Mr Guy were joined by Raewyn Bleakley, Regional Director Central, Rod James, Wellington Highway Manager, and key members of the project team on a tour of some of the project’s notable construction sites.
Just north of the Otaihanga site office, home base to one of the three construction zones along the 18km project, the VIPs were shown where M2PP are laying their first paving. The project team are testing some clever formulations of sub-base and base coarse mixtures using locally sourced aggregate that would normally not be suitable for a construction of this type.
Locally sourced has become something of a mantra for the Alliance. They have already placed orders valued at about $110 million directly supporting local business and the local economy. On top of that the Alliance are currently employing nearly 500 people based on the Kapiti Coast, and this number is expected to grow to more than 600 next year.
Keeping with the local theme, the M2PP project includes one of the largest planting projects ever seen in the lower North Island. Around 1.5 million almost exclusively indigenous, locally sourced plants will be planted over 140 hectares.
Mr Bridges said he was struck by “the real feel good factor the area is going to get from what’s going to be a very special, beautiful project.” With these plantings and a raft of landscaping and other environmental mitigations built into the project, the Transport Agency and the M2PP Alliance are working hard to ensure this feel good factor is realised.
Further up the route, the visitors were able to see some of the 650 tonnes of steel reinforcing that has already been used on the project. The piers for a new Waikanae River bridge (one of 18 new bridges along the full route) sit on top of piles more than 30 metres deep. The bridge won’t just be carrying traffic; it will also continue the separated walkway, cycleway and bridle path facility being built in conjunction with the road.
Mr Bridges highlighted the walking, cycling and horse-riding opportunities included in the development as having significant wider benefits for the community over and above the productivity, connectivity and safety goals targeted by the Expressway. At one year in, the M2PP Alliance are making great progress toward delivering these benefits on schedule in 2017.
Happy Birthday, MacKays to Peka Peka.