I feel very sorry for the situation that Mary-Anne and Peter Smith find themselves in (front page story of Kapiti News, Wednesday 22 Feburary) with the off-ramp of the proposed Kapiti motorway being built so close to their home. However it is not just this couple who will be badly affected by being so close if the motorway goes ahead on this route.
People should know that there are a total of 1,400 other homes which will also be within 200 metres, 700 of these within only 100 metres. At an average of two or three people per household, up to 4,500 Kapiti residents will also find themselves with a very unwelcome new neighbour. This is around 10% of our population and creates a very serious long-term problem for our communities and our quality of life.
People may also recieve an unwelcome surprise when they find out how the NZTA noise standard is worked out. Under NZ Standard 6806, what is deemed an acceptable level of noise is based on the average decibel level on a time-average level over 24 hours. So yes, 10% of us will hear those individual trucks as they roar past at 100km per hour, and they may well individually breach the permitted noise levels. But because it will not be constant noise all the time, overall the individual and joint truck noise will be very unlikely to exceed the average noise levels permitted over the whole 24 hour period.
This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you build a road through built-up areas of existing residential housing. NZTA and KCDC know that building this motorway on this route goes against all acceptable modern road-building standards for these very kinds of reasons. Fortunately, the RMA court process - called a Board Of Inquiry - to review this proposal will occur later this year - in about June/July. It will consider whether there are less damaging alternatives to taking this route and whether it meets environmental requirements - for the people who live here too.
The concerns raised by the Smiths are very real ones and are directly relevant to the Board's decision-making process. There will be an opportunity for everyone to have a say if they have similar or other concerns.