Group fears peaty soil will delay expressway

Last updated 07:57 15/11/2012

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Expressway lobby group Waikanae On One has raised concerns about ground conditions possibly plaguing construction of the proposed road through Waikanae.

In its submission to a board of inquiry hearing for New Zealand Transport Agency's application to build the McKays Crossing to Peka Peka expressway, Waikanae On One has proposed an alternative route, just west of NZTA's proposed route between the Waikanae River and Waimeha Stream.

Lawyer Chris Mitchell stressed that previous big road projects on the Kapiti Coast, including the McKays Crossing interchange and Lindale underpass, were delayed by problems with ground conditions, including peaty soil.

"The NZTA proposal does not fit the physical or social environment," the group's submission says. "NZTA has worked under a ministerial timeline to produce an 'off the shelf' expressway that will sit on, rather than within, a community and landscape."

Mr Mitchell said: "NZTA management of the Lindale interchange showed just what happens when modelling has to yield to reality: the project not only took twice as long and cost twice as much as it should, but caused severe consequences for Kapiti traffic.

"The effects of the proposed expressway in this area will be severe, adverse and permanent."

The group believes its alternative route, which features a 3-metre-high, 500-600m-long bridge over wetlands, rather than NZTA's proposed 8m embankment and road, would be less intrusive.

NZTA designer Noel Nancekivell said he did not consider the group's option was a viable alternative.

"Their design would result in significant excavation of the dunes . . . creating a much wider footprint in a culturally significant area in which the intention is to reduce the overall impact.

"While the bridge would reduce the footprint, it would be significantly more expensive than an embankment. A small reduction in visual impact resulting from Woo's proposal is outweighed by its additional cost," Mr Nancekivell said.

Woo's 500m bridge was estimated to cost $39 million. Mr Mitchell asked him for an estimated cost of NZTA's proposed route, and Mr Nancekivell said he did not have a figure available.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Hensen asked him to produce the figure next week.

Kapiti Expressway: The story so far

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter

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