One of the largest planting exercises ever seen in the lower North Island is underway at the Kāpiti Expressway, involving 1.3 million plants – the equivalent of 25 plants for every Kapiti resident.
Transport Agency Wellington Acting Wellington highways manager Neil Walker says the work involves 1.3 million locally sourced, primarily native plants and 140 hectares of planting . The project team is also increasing the area of wetland habitat on the Coast, and for every square metre of wetland that is lost or moved due to construction is replaced with five square metres of new wetland habitat.
“We take landscaping and ecology really seriously. It’s more than just an expressway – we want to create a scenic drive, a shared pathway and an enduring corridor of plant life.
“The work will improve the local biodiversity and ecological connections with other forest and wetland remnants on the Kāpiti Coast, helping flora and fauna to thrive.”
M2PP Alliance Project Manager Alan Orange says the project team are working to ensure it compensates for any loss of habitat caused by construction.
“Our ecologists work closely with the construction team to make sure we protect Kāpiti’s precious natural resources.
“We also expect to see our local bird, lizard and native fish populations grow as a result of the landscaping and planting work being done.”
Mr Orange says that Natural Habitats, the contractor responsible for the planting and ongoing maintenance of the corridor, started planting out the first of 1.3 million plants this week. Their locally sourced team is currently quite small but is expected to keep growing and all receive horticultural and site safe training.
If people are interested in landscaping jobs on the Expressway they should get in touch with the M2PP Alliance.
Photos are up on twitter and available for use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/m2ppalliance/sets/72157649786124913/(external link)