Shock at expressway bridge plan
A Kapiti couple are shocked to discover a six-metre-high expressway bridge could be built near their home.
The bridge is proposed as a change to the $650 million Kapiti Expressway project and if approved would be built over Smithfield Rd north of Waikanae.
The NZ Transport Agency confirmed yesterday it will seek resource consent to add the bridge to the expressway route.
Previously the agency planned to run a bridge over the expressway connecting the rural Smithfield Rd to Ngarara Rd. It will now seek to run the expressway over Smithfield Rd, with the new bridge running as close as 300m to David and Marie's home.
The Hares found out early this month about the bridge, when David Hare was told by an affected neighbour while out for a walk on Smithfield Rd.
He said he was not told by the agency despite living beside the proposed change, and having his property connected by Smithfield.The couple shifted to their property when there was no hint that it would be beside an expressway.
He said the minimum height requirement would be at least 6m for heavy vehicles. Principal project manager Tony Coulman said the change was proposed after the project went into its detailed design phase.''It became apparent that the local road bridge ... was going to need to be higher than expected.
It was felt that this would not be the best solution because the embankments to raise the local road would need to be much bigger than planned and that this would have a much higher visual impact on the community.''Raising the expressway to clear Smithfield Rd can be incorporated ''into the existing ground profile'' with much less visual impact, he said.
The agency would apply shortly to Kapiti Coast District Council for consent for work, he said.
Coulman said the agency would speak to the Hares about the proposed changes, despite the fact they may not be obliged to under the consent process set by the council.
Council consents manager Andrew Guerin said if an application is received the council will decide who qualifies as an affected party, and whether the process will be publicly notified.
''This will depend to some degree on the acceptability of the changes from landowners in close vicinity of the proposed changes.''
The Hares confirmed they had been contacted by the Alliance, the group building the expressway, and would meet staff tomorrow .The agency said the new route would not exceed the original budget for the work
- Kapiti Observer
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