PATH: The shared path at the southern end of the alignment near Te Kowhai Road. Photo supplied
The section of shared path between Te Kowhai and Te Hapua Roads at the southern end of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway will be open for cyclists and pedestrians by the end of the month.
In a newsletter on August 4 the expressway team said it was still too soon for equestrians to use the path, asking them to keep their horses off the path until the grass has had time to grow.
“If the horses go on too soon, their heavy hooves will cut up the surface and we risk having to reclose the pathway while it is relaid.”
The bridle path is expected to be open in late summer.
Meantime, the predominantly wet weather in June and July have proved challenging for construction crews. The building programme has an allowance for wet weather, however, which means “reasonable progress relative to what we expected”.
As an example, the earthworks team has finished most of the work on the expressway between the Makahuri (formerly Marycrest) rail overpass and Te Kowhai Road, including the wetlands and top-soiling batters.
The team has moved about 10,000 square metres of topsoil and structural fill in the past month.
Once the earthworks are complete and the subgrade (the layer beneath the pavement) has dried out sufficiently, construction teams can start placing and cement-stabilising the sub-base – the first layer of the pavement made up with stone aggregate. After the sub-base has been stabilised and it’s gained sufficient strength, the asphalt can be laid.
The first two layers provide the strength and durability with the final layer of “emogpa” (epoxy modified open-graded porous asphalt) providing a quieter running surface.
While construction of the first two layers of asphalt will continue through winter, except on wet days, the emogpa needs warmer weather. As it’s the final icing on the cake, it has to be left until right at the end so the amount of construction traffic travelling over it is minimised.
The combination of asphalt layers is referred to as “deep lift asphalt” and while it’s more expensive than traditional granular pavements, it has a longer life, performs far better under heavy traffic conditions and requires less maintenance. It also provides a smoother surface than chip-seal with reduce tyre noise.
Pavement works to the northern tie-in are progressing and southbound State Highway 1 traffic will soon be switched onto a temporary road. Stabilised sub-base works will continue north of Bridge 2 (the old Ramp) including the expressway on and off ramps.
In the next month the finishing works to the new Ōtaki River bridge will be completed, including the shared path architectural handrail. In the area between Ōtaki Gorge Road and Makahuri, there will be continued completion of stabilised sub-base and asphalting works, followed by barrier installation.
Towards the end of August, the last of the bridge deck pours on the Makahuri rail overbridge will occur, with barrier installation following in September and October. Stabilised sub-base construction will continue north from the adjacent Te Hapua Road to the local road underpass. Later in the month, the project will open the new section of shared path between Te Hapua Road and Te Kowhai Road.