One of the most anticipated, and more complex, engineering projects in the lower North Island is entering the final stretch, with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advising that work on the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP2Ō) is almost three-quarters complete.
“PP2Ō is an extremely complex infrastructure project, with constantly changing demands and challenges,” says Andrew Thackwray, National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.
“It is going to be a fantastic addition to the state highway network in the Wellington region and we know how much the community is looking forward to using it.”
The project has been a mammoth undertaking, involving construction of ten bridges including the 330m long Ōtaki River Bridge, a 1.3km realignment of the North Island Main Trunk Line, the construction of almost 9km of local roads, challenging geotechnical ground conditions and extensive cultural and heritage considerations.
Since construction on the PP2Ō project began in 2017 there have been numerous changes to the project scope, including the design and construction of a shared walking and cycling path alongside the expressway and upgrades to the road pavement and surface, which will result in reduced road noise and lower maintenance costs.
While PP2Ō was one of the first major projects nationwide to get back up and running after the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown, the disruption, along with other changes and challenges, has impacted the project timeframe.
Since the Level 4 lockdown in 2020, Waka Kotahi and Fletcher Construction have been engaged in negotiations regarding a new opening date and contractual completion date, recognising changes to the project scope and several unforeseen challenges.
Through those negotiations, Waka Kotahi now expects the expressway to open to traffic in late 2022.
“As we get closer to completion, we will have more certainty about a specific opening date and how the new road will change people’s journeys throughout the region,” says Mr Thackwray.
“We thank the community for their ongoing support while construction continues.”
PP2Ō is a 13km, grade-separated expressway that will offer major safety improvements, offer increased travel time reliability for people and freight, and reduce increasingly severe congestion at major pinch points such as Ōtaki.
When the four-lane expressway opens it will connect with the 18km Mackays to Peka Peka expressway and the 27km Transmission Gully motorway to provide more reliable journeys to and from Wellington.
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