Wellington's northern expressway a step closer

The next stage of the Kapiti Expressway has been all but approved.

An independent board of inquiry released its draft decision on the planned Peka Peka to Otaki expressway today.

In a unanimous decision, the board granted provisional resource consent for the 13-kilometre, four-lane stretch of road, which the NZ Transport Agency wants to build.

Only minor or technical aspects of the draft decision can be challenged before the board releases its final decision in February.

The expressway is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, a road of national significance that will eventually stretch from Wellington Airport to Levin.

Transport agency spokesman Anthony Frith welcomed the draft decision.

The agency planned to begin construction in 2016, with a time frame of about two years, he said.

When it was last costed in 2011, the Peka Peka to Otaki expressway was expected to cost about $250 million.

It is the second half of what will become the Kapiti Expressway. The first half - a $630m expressway between MacKays Crossing and Peka Peka - received resource consent this year.

That decision was challenged by opposition group Save Kapiti in the High Court, then in the Supreme Court, and dismissed. Construction is due to start next week.

Fairfax Media