Viewpoint

Viewpoint 

Viewpoint 

When the Minister, Stephen Joyce, announced the Kapiti Expressway would follow the line of the proposed Western Link Road, there was widespread relief that properties would be saved from destruction and that an existing designation for the road would be used.  What few recognised then, and even now, were the implications  the decision had for the Coast.   Recently concerns have been raised about the effects on Queen Elizabeth Park  in Raumati and the Urupa and surrounding Wahi tapu in Waikanae.  Likewise the overall effect of the route on our communities. 

Fortunately the NZTA website offers a view of what it will be like 

NZTA's view of the proposed Sandhills Expressway

NZTA's view of the proposed Sandhills Expressway

– an almost football-field long width of continuous concrete strip through the middle of compact and friendly Kapiti.  It will cut off sea from hills, children from schools, communities from parks and  shoppers from shops in the most brutal way.  Think of driving the motorway into Wellington: what links do the people  in  Grenada North on the left have with Tawa/Linden on the right ? Or Newlands with Johnsonville? -then think Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu Beach, Waikanae beach  and what links they will have to their communities to the East.  The whole concept defies not only common sense but also the planning principles  to which NZTA professes a commitment. 

There will be links across the Expressway, of course.   But think also of those for the moment.   The Expressway, for much of its length, will be built over sand, peat and lagoon so will need to be raised up at least a couple of metres above ground level.   So those limited roads over the top of it will need to climb seven metres .   Which, in turn means ramps starting some 200 metres either side the Expressway making a four hundred metre plus impact at these locations. What effects will that have on the house along those roads with rising concrete walls, increased noise with the elevation, light pollution and so on?  And that is if they are only fly-overs.  Interchanges take up considerably more additional room and potentially additional properties.  To date it is not clear where they will be or how much they will add to the cost.  But let us say Poplar, Kapiti and Te Moana Roads as well as Peka Peka.  

Poplar Avenue Interchange

Poplar Avenue Interchange

Here is an idea of what a couple of those will look like and, more importantly what a devastating effect they will have, on ecology, on properties and on lives. 

Te Moana Road Interchange

Te Moana Road Interchange

Yet there is a simple, effective and far less expensive answer to the issues of travel in and through Kapiti – a two lane Western link road, and an upgrade to SH 1 including the Elizabeth Street underpass and walkway over-bridge, which would eliminate congestion and delays. More on this and the financial issues of the Expressway in the next two articles.

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