Lovers and haters of the proposed Kapiti expressway have taken their first ride on it – albeit a virtual one.
A two-week resource consent hearing for the $250 million, 13-kilometre link between Peka Peka and Otaki began in Paraparaumu this morning with a virtual tour of the road.
A five-member board of inquiry and those in the public gallery were shown a computer-generated simulation of how the expressway would look if construction went ahead as planned.
Three overbridges were shown at different points of Otaki, as well as at Mary Crest and Te Horo.
The simulation also showed where the expressway would provide another bridge over the Otaki River.
It was pointed out that the simulation did not show the landscaping planned to soften the visual impact of the expressway. Those areas were instead shaded green.
The first two days of the hearing are expected to be taken up by NZ Transport Agency staff and their legal team presenting opening statements and evidence to support the resource consent application.
NZTA lawyer, Paul Beverly, said there had been extensive consultation with the local community over the design since 2009.
An equally extensive amount of time had been put in by staff to address the concerns raised, he said.
“This project would look very different if not for that time and effort.”
He pointed out the Te Horo interchange flyover had been redesigned to reduce its impact on local businesses and the Red House Café,
The agency had also refined its design of the northbound on-ramp at Otaki to account for the cultural significance of the dunes in the area, he said.
The alignment of the expressway had also been changed to avoid the bush at Mary Crest.
The Peka Peka to Otaki expressway is the northern half of what will be known as the Kapiti expressway.
If consent is granted, construction will start in early 2016 and be finished by 2020.
The southern half of the Kapiti expressway, from McKays Crossing to Peka Peka, received resource consent earlier this year.
Construction was scheduled to start soon after but its resource consent is currently being appealed through the High Court.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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