COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information for all alert levels, Waka Kotahi services and more

SCAM ALERTS: Refund email and Vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails

ONLINE SERVICES: We currently have an issue with receiving some payments and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

EASTER WEEKEND – PLAN AHEAD: Heading away for the long weekend? Check our holiday journeys tool(external link)

Project introduction

A bypass of Ōtaki, and the provision of a high standard four-lane expressway through the area will increase the efficiency of freight and people movements between Wellington and the North. It will ease local trip congestion, and will assist in facilitating economic development in the area.

  • Estimated project cost

    $405 million (construction cost)
  • Project type

    Road improvements, Road management
  • Project status

    Construction, Design

Subscribe to updates

What does subscribing mean? Please read our Privacy statement



The aim of this project is to remove congestion points for through-traffic and thereby improve journey time reliability through the Kāpiti Coast growth area, and to improve safety. This will improve the efficiency of freight and people movements between Wellington and the north and will assist in facilitating economic productivity and growth in the area as well as improving safety.

Why an expressway is needed in Kāpiti

The importance of improvement of the state highway network throughout the Kāpiti district has been identified by a number of studies. The SH1 network faces a number of transportation issues throughout the district. These include:

  • traffic characteristics
  • safety
  • population increases
  • access, congestion and reliability
  • route security
  • freight movement
  • amenity and social effects, including effects on walking and cycling.

The focus of the state highway network is on moving people and freight between and within the main centres of New Zealand as safely and efficiently as possible. The local network and community objectives and needs are also important in considering the need for the project, given the dual function that SH1 currently provides. The project therefore seeks to achieve an integrated network that also facilitates local trips and modal choice, while recognising that the transformation of current SH1 to a local road is the subject of a separate statutory process.

Cycleway / shared path

A shared path for cyclists and pedestrians is under construction as part of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki section of the Kāpiti Expressway. Learn more about the PP2Ō shared path.


The project has a number of key features:

  • an overbridge at Te Horo to link School Road and Gear Road with Te Horo Beach Road.
  • an overpass just north of Ōtaki allowing the old SH1 to pass over the expressway and railway
  • Ōtaki railway realignment
  • a vehicle overbridge at Rahui Road crossing the expressway and the railway line
  • a four-lane Ōtaki River bridge to be located east of the Ōtaki River rail bridge
  • an overbridge at Taylors Road to improve safety.

The proposed access arrangement to and from the expressway for Ōtaki includes providing south-facing ramps to the south of Ōtaki (at Ōtaki Gorge Road) and north-facing ramps to the north of Ōtaki to provide ease of access in and out of Ōtaki.

How will road users benefit?

The four-lane expressway will deliver a wide range of benefits:

  • road safety in the Kāpiti District will be greatly improved due to the separation of local and highway traffic
  • the relief of severe congestion points through Ōtaki
  • improved access to Wellington's port, CBD, interisland ferry terminals, airport and hospital
  • more reliable journey times
  • more efficient movement of increasing freight volumes
  • economic productivity and growth in the area will be assisted by efficient people and freight movements.

Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway alignment map

*Indicative map only and not to scale

View larger map image [PDF, 121 KB]

About the route

  • The preferred route

    The Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway will run for approximately 13 kilometres from Te Kowhai Road in the south, to Taylors Road, north of Ōtaki.

    • At the southern end, the four-lane Expressway will run along the existing SH1. A replacement section of arterial road is to be built, predominantly through low-lying areas and sand dunes

    • North of Te Hapua Road, the Expressway and new arterial road pass through sand dunes and curve east to avoid a culturally and ecologically significant area at Mary Crest, where the Expressway crosses from the west to the east of the rail line and the arterial road joins with the existing SH1

    • North of Mary Crest, the Expressway runs adjacent to the rail line and the current SH1 until the Ōtaki River, across generally flat topography and properties primarily associated with agriculture or horticulture

    • The Expressway crosses the Ōtaki River and runs across the floodplain, then passes through an urban area to the east of the Ōtaki Railway Retail area.  Here, the existing rail line will be realigned to run parallel to the Expressway

    • The Expressway and realigned rail line pass under the existing SH1 as it exits the Ōtaki Railway Retail area to the north, where the rail line re-joins the current rail alignment

    • The Expressway passes through a sand dune system immediately north of Ōtaki before it reduces to two lanes, crosses the Waitohu Stream, and traverses flat rural land at the northern end of the Project area.

    Half-interchanges to the north and south of Ōtaki are incorporated into the proposed alignment. These provide full access from the Expressway to the Ōtaki Railway Retail area and vice versa.

    • The following cross-corridor local connections will be built:

      • at Te Horo, a local road bridge over the Expressway, rail line, and the existing SH1, connecting residences and businesses to the east and west of the transport corridor (a more northerly location was chosen because of preferences expressed by Te Horo residents during consultation) 

      • just south of Ōtaki River, new local roads and bridges across the Expressway and rail line, connecting Ōtaki Gorge Road and Old Hautere Road with the existing SH1 to provide access to and from Ōtaki, and linking to the Expressway (heading south) 

      • at Rahui Road in Ōtaki, a local road bridge across the Expressway and realigned rail line, linking the Ōtaki Railway Retail area with residential areas to the east 

    • Specific provision for cyclists and pedestrians will be provided on all cross-corridor local connections

    • An alignment at Mary Crest that avoids significant indigenous vegetation remnants and sites/areas of cultural significance

    • An alignment at Te Horo that facilitates the benefits of the Mary Crest alignment, and enhances safety and urban design outcomes

  • Why the preferred route?

    The preferred route was chosen because:

    • The Project will achieve significant safety improvements for users of transport networks, through:

      • the separation of local traffic from State Highway traffic travelling through the Kāpiti district;

      • improved road standards, due to the geometric design of the Expressway (including continuous median separation of north and south-bound traffic); and

      • an enhanced traffic environment on the local road network (which will include the current SH1), with benefits for motorists, cyclists, and rail users due to:

        • fewer vehicles using the current SH1

        • the provision of grade-separated local road connections (i.e. bridges) across the Expressway and rail line

        • the removal of five of the eight level crossings in the Project area

    • The Project will promote economic development, including through:

      • improvements in efficiency for freight movements and reduced travel times

      • the reduction of traffic through the Ōtaki Railway Retail area, improving the amenity values of that area as a social, employment, retail, and transport centre

      • increased economic activity and employment opportunities during the Project's four-year construction period

    • The Project will enhance connections between communities in the Kāpiti district, through:

      • the provision of the Expressway as an alternative route

      • the continued availability of the existing SH1 as part of the local road network, with a safer, improved transport environment (as discussed above)

    • The Project will result in reduced and more reliable travel times along key routes, and reduced traffic congestion.

    • As part of the Wellington Northern Corridor Roads of National Significance (RoNS), the Project will improve access to Wellington's key facilities such as the port, international airport, hospital, and central business district (CBD).

    • The Project is "lead infrastructure", in that it will meet the future needs of a growing population, as well as foster economic growth in the ways summarised above.

    • The Project will improve route security and resilience of the road network in the event of a significant earthquake, road accidents, or other disruption, by providing a high-quality alternative route between Peka Peka and Ōtaki (including two bridges providing alternative crossings of the Ōtaki River).

    • The Project has a high degree of alignment with key strategic planning instruments for the Kāpiti district, including the Greater Ōtaki Vision (GOV).


An overview of the project

Remove congestion points for through-traffic, improve journey time reliability through the Kāpiti Coast growth area, and improve safety.

  • Current status of project

    Following an intensive design phase, tenders for the construction opened in January 2016.  Fletcher Construction were selected as the successful tenderer, and were awarded the contract in November 2016.

    Over the next few months, Fletcher will work with their construction partners as well as the Transport Agency, the Kāpiti Coast District Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council to develop environmental management plans and a programme of work, before major construction begins in mid-2017.

  • Timetable
    Time Activity
    November 2016 Design and Construct contract awarded to Fletcher Construction.
    Late 2016 – late 2017 Contractor developed programme of work, detailed environmental management plans, communication activities, final detailed design and other activities required before construction.
    November 2017 Physical construction commenced. The COVID-19 response means the project timetable will be rescheduled.

Community involvement

Getting the project underway involved years of community consultation. Starting in 2001, consultation carried right through to 2014 when the EPA appointed a Board of Inquiry to assess and subsequently approve the PP2Ō project for construction. View the full summary of this process.

Working with the project’s neighbours and the wider community throughout the construction phase is an important part of this job. The project has a dedicated community engagement team who are based locally in Ōtaki and keeps people updated through monthly e-newsletters, and also with regular information flyers about localised works happening in specific areas. Visit the visitor centre at 216 Main Highway Ōtaki or come along to one the local info hubs in Te Horo and Ōtaki township to find out more about the project. 

The project team works with over 200 key stakeholders, including iwi, local authorities, and transport interest groups, schools, sporting clubs, local landowners, community groups, environmental groups, ecologists and neighbours.

The community engagement team is based in the project office in Akeake Place, Ōtaki and they are always happy to meet with people interested in the project. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch:

  • Call 0800 PP2O INFO (0800 7726 4636)
  • Email
  • Visit the Project Office, Unit 2 & 3, Akeake Place, Ōtaki, 5512

You can also subscribe to our regular monthly enewsletter updates.(external link)

Project Contacts

Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway Project Team –
More contact info
  • Phone: 0800 7726 4636
  • More detailed queries can be mailed to:

    Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway
    NZ Transport Agency
    PO Box 5084
    Lambton Quay
    Wellington 6145