Traffic finally flows on to $630m Kapiti Expressway as road quietly opens video


Take a time-lapse trip up the newly open Kapiti Expressway.

The new route through the Kapiti Coast is getting glowing reviews from drivers within hours of opening.

The $630 million first section of the Kapiti expressway, north of Wellington, was opened to traffic just after 4am on Friday morning.

The opening of the road between Mackays Crossing and Peka Peka on the Kapiti Coast marked the completion of a project that started in late 2013.

Traffic flows for the first time on the opening day of the Kapiti expressway.

Traffic flows for the first time on the opening day of the Kapiti expressway.

Motorists were quick off the mark to give it a test-drive on Friday morning - appearing already to reduce the traffic load elsewhere.

Bones broken on new driveways
Limits to drop on roads around expressway
Expressway built from recycling
No Christmas present for expressway 

Usually filled with traffic heading north on Friday afternoon, the old State Highway 1 was almost empty. 

Next stop Paraparaumu on the Kapiti expressway.

Next stop Paraparaumu on the Kapiti expressway.

Kapiti resident Maree Gately drove the expressway on its opening day and was pleased at how quickly it got her from A to B.

"It's money well spent – it took about four mins to get from Waikanae Beach to Paraparaumu off-ramp – it takes more than that to get from Waikanae beach to Waikanae village. Otaihanga roundabout is a nightmare, so pleased we can avoid this bottle-neck. Looking forward to seeing how it copes with Friday traffic. So pleased it is finally open."

Approaching the Kapiti Rd interchange on the first section of the Kapiti expressway.

Approaching the Kapiti Rd interchange on the first section of the Kapiti expressway.

Avalon, Lower Hutt resident Aaron McLean also had a bouquet for the expressway- although he had heard talk it could cause a bottleneck at Otaki, and expected Friday evening's rush-hour traffic would reveal whether that could be the case.

Ad Feedback

"I drove on this first time this morning to Levin - I travel here a few times a week! And it was a breeze. Keep these projects coming," McLean wrote.

Ray Amos joined the expressway at Te Roto Dr, headed north to Peka Peka, before travelling south to Mackays Crossing. 

Heading south on the newly opened first section of the Kapiti expressway, near Peka Peka.
Joel Maxwell

Heading south on the newly opened first section of the Kapiti expressway, near Peka Peka.

"It gave you a whole new perspective of the Kapiti Coast. On a beautiful day like this, it's amazing.

'When you look at both sides, it's just amazing. The sheer size of it ... as you looked over you could see where the existing State Highway 1 is ... and you can foresee there'll be no holdups now, when everyone gets used to it.

"To me it was awesome. It's been a long time coming but now it's here, it's taken things to a whole new level." 

A panel of art work on the side of the Kapiti expressway, near Waikanae Beach.
Joel Maxwell

A panel of art work on the side of the Kapiti expressway, near Waikanae Beach.

He said traffic flowed well, with cars "hoofing it to the limit". 

Cat Young said she took the road to visit family in Otaki. 

"It was lovely ... we ended up in Peka Peka very fast and coming back was a breeze. 

The Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Kapiti expressway, from Poplar Ave, with a pedestrian overbridge.

The Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Kapiti expressway, from Poplar Ave, with a pedestrian overbridge.

"It was really nicely laid out. It was a really smooth drive, and I really liked the planting and the waterways." 

She said it was similar to driving on some Australian motorways. 

The project was dogged by controversy as residents were forced to make way for the four-lane road, while others were unexpectedly left living near a major thoroughfare.

It runs for 18 kilometres through central Kapiti, and includes a second bridge over the Waikanae River.

"It's obviously very early days but this morning's numbers indicate that there's a 50 to 60 per cent reduction in volume on the old route," NZTA State Highways Manager Neil Walker said.

"People starting using it as soon as the cones were off. Truck drivers made up a good proportion of the first vehicles, but it was also popular during the peak this morning. Everyone seems positive about their new options for travelling through the area."

On Friday morning, NZTA tweeted that it was open, and advised people to take care and follow the signage as they got used to the new road.

Motorists gave their reviews on the NZTA's Facebook page – many saying they had made a faster trip between towns, and giving the new route the thumbs up. Others were concerned about the new traffic noise.

The NZTA encouraged drivers to familiarise themselves with the new entries and exits to the expressway .

"We're thrilled that the expressway is now open and everyone can enjoy the benefits of safer and easier journeys in Kapiti. We know that people are excited to see the expressway open and in use, and we're urging everyone to be considerate and courteous as we all get used to moving around the district in different ways," Walker said.

Work was continuing around the Poplar Ave Interchange at the south end of the expressway over coming months, as well as the Peka Peka Interchange at the north end of the expressway, and some other roads in the area.

Additional roundabouts were still being built, and road surfacing and barrier installation needed to be completed.

"While this work continues, traffic management, lane closures and speed restrictions will occasionally be in place," Walker said. "We're thankful that people have been patient and understanding with the works to date, and we're asking people to bear with us a little longer as we finish off these remaining works."

Kapiti deputy mayor Janet Holborow said the region had a much-needed second north-south connection. 

"For Kapiti residents that regularly commute to and from Wellington the shorter and more reliable journey is a welcome addition to the Kapiti Coast, but for others who live in close proximity to the expressway, coming to terms with the noise and environmental impacts ... will take some time. 

"We acknowledge that it will take some time for people to get used to the expressway and changes to traffic patterns and volumes on our local roads, but on the flip side our community has gained a valuable roading asset that will make for safer and more reliable journeys and deliver significant economic benefit."

The expressway would now become State Highway 1 while the old route would eventually become local roads. Both new and old routes would give passage through the district.

It will form the central section of three projects: the $850m Transmission Gully route in the south, and a $330m section from Peka Peka to north of Otaki being the others.


Comments have been closed. 

 - Stuff


Ad Feedback
special offers

'Lengthy delays' after breakdown

Traffic was heavily congested after the breakdown.

Police warn drivers to avoid southern motorway after traffic grinds to standstill.

Party's $100K damage bill video

The walls of the house were tagged and riddled with holes.

An open invite on Facebook, an empty house and the trail of destruction caught on video.

Woman hit by car dies

A woman is dead after being hit by car in Northland overnight.

A 67-year-old woman is dead after being hit by a car near Kaikohe.

'Business as usual' soon video

Tanker HMNZS Endeavour is back on standby because of Auckland's ground fuel re-supply efforts, Judith Collins said.

Energy Minister Judith Collins says Auckland airport's fuel crisis is coming to end.


The rise, and rise, of Kāpiti

A new housing subdivision in the northern end of Waikanae illustrates the rapid expansion of the Kapiti coast.

It's a strip of land north of Wellington facing more change in a few years than most districts face in decades - $2 billion worth.

Oh baby, cash for eggs?

"Emma" was only given life because of the kindness of a donor she never met. (Stock photo)

Woman conceived with donated sperm decries idea of big pharma taking hold in process.

Grand plans for Grand Arcade

An artist's rendering of the refurbished Grand Arcade, forecast to be completed early 2019.

The building is the site of one of the few fatalities in Wellington due to an earthquake.

How the sevens were lost

In total, less than 18,000 spectators attended the Wellington Sevens across both days - the stadium's capacity is 32,500.

Organisers were in losing battle for an event Wellington had fallen out of love with, emails show.


'This can never happen again'

Neil Jones died after what the coroner called an "appalling" failure of care by the Canterbury District Health Board in 2013.

Neil Jones was more than a homeless alcoholic left at a bus stop. He was a father, a son, a brother and a friend.

Flaws in Watson case video

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998.

Even now, almost 20 years on, Guy Wallace still has moments when he racks his brain for details lost to time.

A lifetime of compassion

Pauliina at her home in Little River.

Doctor in a rural African village, psychiatrist, language buff and art history graduate – Pirkko Verrier Jones was a woman of varied talents.

New shops and foodcourt planned

A new foodcourt and seating areas for diners will be added at the southern end of Northlands mall.

Christchurch's Northlands Mall is planning to embark on another extension.


Lisa Vanin places at WOW

The Cloak of Pīwakawaka, by Lisa Vanin, onstage on Friday night.

Cambridge designer Lisa Vanin places second in the Aotearoa section at WOW.

Six-vehicle crash

Diversions are in place at the Link Road intersection south of the crash.

Three cars, a van, a motorbike and truck are involved, closing SH1 near Wairakei.

Robber chased

The superette is on the corner of Edinburgh Road and Brocas Avenue.

Masked robber demands cash, but store worker fights back.

Pair let drunk drive them home

Blake Lewis Oettli, 21, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Thursday.

Two people who let a drunk drive them home fared badly. 


Home stretch awaits Hareb

Paige Hareb is looking to make her presence felt in her final two events of the year.

She's been in contention all year, now the Kiwi surfer knows it's time to lock in her qualification to the world tour.

Justice 'not being seen'

A Taranaki lawyer claims his legally blind client's access to justice is under threat because the man can't get his ...

Lawyer argues legally blind client's "access to justice" at risk because of no new glasses.

Living on with a head injury

Riki Hoeata has found success in smoothies after having to move on from rugby.

Former rugby lock tackles healthier life after concussion forces him to move on from the sport he loves most.

Three siblings guilty

Having no money was a factor for Benjamin Hayes, who stole cars and committed burglaries in June and July this year. ...

A unusual court session provided a glimpse into what drives people to turn to crime.


Taking to the dance floor

Anniversary committee chairman Tom Fitzsimons looks through a Manawatū Dancing Club scrapbook.

MEMORY LANE: The Manawatu Dancing Club has been gliding on for 50 years.

Recognition for railcar

The Pahiatua Railcar Society's community award win recognises three decades of work restoring this one-of-a-kind railcar.

Community award honours 30 years of hard work restoring a vintage railcar for public use.

Teachers investigated

One teacher has been struck off and two others are under investigation after behaving inappropriately towards students. ...

One teacher struck off and two others investigated for inappropriate relationships with students.

Law career comes to an end

Peter Coles talks to reporters after Ewen Macdonald is declined parole in 2013.

The curtain is coming down on the legal career of a canny courtroom operator.


WOW tribute to late designer

The Art of New York City created by Martin de Ruyter, Karen Stade and Troy Stade, modelled by Nicole Gibson.

The memory of a young designer who took out the World of WearableArt Awards top prize is being kept alive in a garment at this year's finals.

Death of a gentleman

Ron Brinsdon, pictured in 2005, on his dawn can collection run in Hardy St. He and a friend would flatten the cans and ...

Homeless man Ron Brinsdon died after collapsing in Nelson. Behind the familiar face was a hidden story.

Hansen to give Havili ABs shot?

David Havili has reached a point where his coach feels he is now comfortable in the All Black environment.

Is it time to hand David Havili his debut against Argentina?

Flaws in Sounds murder case video

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998.

Some things come to mind easily in the Scott Watson case, then it gets murky.


Flaws in Sounds murder case video

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998.

Some things come to mind easily in the Scott Watson case, then it gets murky - not just because it's decades on.

New boat in the post

Jim and Amanda Baillie are the ninth owners of the Pelorus Mail Boat in 100 years. The new boat will be revealed next ...

For a century, the mail boat has provided a vital link to families cloistered in secluded bays.

Best foot forward for Alzheimers

Barry Brown of Blenheim led last year's memory walk, and will be back with his bagpipes for Alzheimers Marlborough this year.

Blenheim bagpiper Barry Brown will call the tune once again for Alzheimers Marlborough's Memory Walk.

New life on the Kaikōura seabed

Life returns to areas of the Kaikōura Canyon where nothing existsed after the November earthquake. The picture shows a ...

The Kaikōura earthquake caused a violent current that swept away seabed life, but it is coming back.

South Canterbury

Hydro 'dangerous'

Timaru's Hydro Grand Hotel has been assessed as being a dangerous building likely to cause injury or death.

Damning report says Hydro Grand is dangerous, likely to cause injury or death.

Time to spring forward

Butcher Jim Bower's early mornings will be even darker and busier when Daylight Saving kicks in on Sunday.

Dust off the barbecue, it's time for long evenings as Daylight Savings starts.

Gully change approved

An aerial view of Broughs Gully, in the Timaru suburb of Oceanview.

The Brough's Gully site could yield at least 180 sections if the decision survives appeal.

Timaru's next tourism attraction?

In May a High Court Judge ruled the Rangatira be sold to pay off more than $170,000 owed to PrimePort.

Fisherman hopes community will save ship with Hollywood connection from the scrap heap.


Person dead after Dunedin fire

The fire was in one unit in a block of four.

A Dunedin flat where a person was found dead was well ablaze when firefighters arrived.

Woman rescued, police thank app

A Christchurch woman was found on Ben Lomond, near Queenstown, about 12am on Friday.

A Christchurch woman was rescued from a Queenstown mountain after her husband tracked her location through a phone app.

Eyes to the sky in Alexandra

Neil Sutherland, who lives at the Alexandra Airport at his hanger, will be displaying his home-built plane at the Wings ...

It's not every day planes down the main street of Alexandra.

Budding booze baron busted

Richard Gray in the Dunedin District Court

A Dunedin man says he feels better after he was busted for selling home brew to two teens who later ended up in hospital.


Prendergast wants dialogue before ministerial review

John Prendergast, former chief executive of the Community Trust of Southland.

"An independent set of eyes transparently reviewing and reporting publicly on this matter would be very beneficial ..."

Where is Amber-Lee?

Amber-Lee Cruickshank, pictured age one, went missing on October 17, 1992.

Police travelled to Australia looking for answers about what happened to toddler Amber-Lee Cruickshank 25 years ago.

Fighting for those who can't

Southland Boys's High School student  Malachi Agnew, 12, in front, has organised students at his school to have a mufti ...

When Malachi Agnew is rasing money he's trying to save the lives of his mates.

Ballet etiquette 101

I've seen Romeo and Juliet, I don't need the story narrated to me.

OPINION: I love a trip to the ballet but not when the person behind me can't stop talking.

Ad Feedback