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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.

ROADWAY: A view of the expressway from the northern end with the new Waitohu Stream bridge in the foreground.

Photo Mark Coote

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”.

Full steam ahead on expressway


Expressway - the numbers

PP2Ō is a four-lane expressway stretching about 13 kilometres from Peka Peka to north of Ōtaki.

  •  Ten structures have been built – nine bridges and one pedestrian/cycle underpass opposite Makahuri (Marycrest) for the shared pathway.

  •  107 streetlights have been installed to illuminate the main alignment and about 33.4km of wire rope barriers will be along the shoulders and median strip.

  •  About 3.6 million cubic metres of earth have been moved.

  •  More than 50 permanent culverts have been installed under the expressway, in addition to roadside drainage pipes.

  •  Six new wetlands have been created along the expressway as part of the ecological mitigation across the project (they reduce the effects of flooding by absorbing rain). The existing Makahuri Wetland has also been enhanced.



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