The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has welcomed the release of the Board of Inquiry's draft decision to approve the regulatory consents application by the NZTA for the MacKays to Peka Peka section of the Kapiti Expressway.
The NZTA State Highway Manager Rod James said the NZTA will now study the particulars of the decision and provide comments back to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) within the 20-working day comment period.
The NZTA’s application was lodged on 20 April 2012 and on 6 July 2012, the Minister for the Environment directed that the application be referred to a Board of Inquiry for determination. The Board of Inquiry’s hearing on the application was conducted from 12 November 2012 to 25 January 2013.
Mr James said that, subject to the board’s final decision which is expected in April, construction of the expressway could begin in July this year, and is anticipated to be open by mid to late 2017.
The Kapiti Expressway is an important part of the Wellington State Highway 1 Northern Corridor which runs from Wellington Airport to Levin. The expressway will not only provide an improved highway route through the Kapiti district but will also increase safety, reduce travel times and improve journey time reliability between the Kapiti and Wellington.
Other sections of the Wellington Northern Corridor include Otaki to Levin, Peka Peka to Otaki, Transmission Gully (Linden to MacKays), Ngauranga to Aotea Quay, and the Terrace Tunnel to Wellington Airport transport improvements.
The latter include the Terrace Tunnel duplication, improvements between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels, a second Mt Victoria tunnel, widening Ruahine Street and Wellington Road, and a new 2.5km pedestrian and cycle facility between the Basin Reserve and Cobham Drive.
The Wellington Northern Corridor is one of seven ‘roads of national significance’ that the Government has identified as essential state highways which require upgrading to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth in New Zealand.
The other six roads of national significance (from north to south) are Puhoi to Wellsford, Waterview Connection (Auckland), Victoria Park Tunnel (Auckland), Waikato Expressway, Tauranga Eastern Link and Christchurch motorways.
The Board of Inquiry’s Draft Report and Decision can be accessed online at http://www.epa.govt.nz/Resource-management/m2pp/Pages/default.aspx(external link)