Kapiti gets bad news from NZTA about the Peka Peka Interchange.
The NZ Transport Agency has announced it will not be proceeding with a full interchange at Peka Peka.
The concept of an interchange was being investigated to improve access to and from the Kāpiti Expressway in the section between Peka Peka and Ōtaki.
"We understand that many in the Peka Peka community will be disappointed, however we have had to weigh up the estimated cost of between $22 million and $29 million to build a full interchange against the many other transport priorities across the country," Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says.
The decision not to proceed was made following a review of the project, which found that it does not align with the priorities in the Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport.
Ms Speight says,"through our investigations, we have found that any safety concerns in the area will be addressed by the Peka Peka to Ōtaki (PP2O) Expressway, which will lower traffic volumes on Peka Peka Road."
"The travel times for Peka Peka and Te Horo residents to access an expressway ramp will be between three to nine minutes after the PP2O project is complete.
"In particular, building a full interchange at Peka Peka does not reflect our priority to ensure that we get value for money. Building the interchange would mean not being able to undertake other transport projects around the country that might have larger benefits."
Kāpiti Mayor K Gurunathan says Council is disappointed by the NZ Transport Agency's decision.
He says local residents and businesses will also be particularly disappointed.
"I'm glad the Agency will be fronting up to the local community at a public meeting next Thursday and I encourage locals to turn up."
He says the Agency will provide further information to the community to help them engage before the public meeting.
"As a supporter of the full interchange for the community we have requested the Agency to future proof the potential for an interchange by ensuring the required land is secured and retained.
"Those who are frustrated by the lack of direct local connections to the new SH1 route heading south have further concerns that the situation will be worse once the local road connections in the area are reduced with the SH1 route having no direct exit past Waikanae until traffic reaches Ōtaki," says Mayor Gurunathan.
"However we understand the range of factors the Agency has needed to consider. They have heard the concerns and debate on both sides, which included those who had a preference to retain more of the semi-rural nature of the area.
"They've made a difficult call given some of the community feedback and we are grateful for the continued engagement of the Agency with us through all the Expressway developments.
Mayoral challenger for Kapiti Gwynn Compton says he is really frustrated by the decision from NZTA to axe the Peka Peka interchange and Mayor Gurunathan's resigned acceptance of its cancellation. "His not fighting this decision to get the interchange built while the bulldozers are still there simply isn't good enough.
"Too often we don't get these big infrastructure projects done right the first time and the people of Peka Peka and Te Horo are going to have endured years of disruption with very little benefit at the end of it," says Mr Compton.
"We need a Mayor who will be a relentless advocate for our region and make sure that Kāpiti gets the infrastructure it needs for the rapid growth we're experiencing."