The first solid layers of asphalt on the Peka Peka to Ōtaki (PP2Ō) expressway are mostly laid down in preparation for the “black top” road surface.
In his April report, project director Chris Hunt said the asphalt crew had made “significant progress”.
“As of this month [April] we’ve laid 94 percent of the AC20 asphalt and 68 percent of AC14 asphalt,” Chris said. “Both AC20 and AC14 are components of the expressway’s 175mm structural paving, also called deep lift asphalt.”
These layers go down before the “icing on the cake” – 25mm of smooth emogpa (epoxy modified open graded porous asphalt).
In 2020, Waka Kotahi invested $50 million extra into the expressway budget to ensure the surface did not have the failures that had occurred on the Mackays to Peka Peka stretch of the expressway.
It should mean a smoother ride for motorists, less maintenance and a longer life span for the road surface.
A small section of emogpa will be laid next month to ensure the methodology is “nailed down” before the winter months, roughly June through to August. The remaining sections are scheduled to be laid in from September onwards.
Cold and wet weather in winter prevents thin surfaces such as emogpa being laid because low ground and air temperatures pose a risk to the quality and durability of the product during placement.
During April, the expressway team has laid more than 100,000 tonnes of asphalt on the main alignment. Paving in the northern area is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.
Meanwhile, construction work on Winiata Link Road at Te Horo is progressing well. The new road will provide access to residents with properties backing onto the road, as well as access to the renowned Mirek Smíšek kilns.
In 2019, the kilns and a nearby brick chimney were carefully dismantled and moved a short distance away. They have been reconstructed and are to be a central part of a new arts centre.
Winiata Link Road is on target to be completed in early September.
Chris Hunt has told the Ōtaki Community Board that the expressway is expected to open “by the end of the year”.