Decisions to scrap the Peka Peka Interchange and reduce the Expressway between North Ōtaki and Levin to a two-lane road will have a decades-long impact on businesses across the Kāpiti and Horowhenua Districts, says Kāpiti the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce.
The New Zealand Transport Agency announced yesterday it would not proceed with the previously promised Peka Peka Interchange, following its announcement late in 2018 the proposed four-lane Expressway between Ōtaki and Levin would be reduced to two lanes.
Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce says the Chamber is disappointed in the decision, and local businesses are concerned the region is no longer a priority.
“Infrastructure is a significant concern for our businesses. In a recent survey of our members, there was strong support for completing projects across the region, including the Expressway. The survey showed 31% believed infrastructure is holding the region back. While Transmission Gully is due to open next year, until there are more lanes in and out of Wellington, traffic will continue to be an issue. The significant delays north of Kāpiti over Christmas highlighted this,” says Ms Hutchings.
A study commissioned by the Kāpiti Coast District Council in 2017 found there were immediate benefits to the local economy when the Kāpiti Expressway opened.
Ms Hutchings says between February 2017 and the end of the year, spending increased across Kāpiti – “there was 22.2% jump at Kāpiti Landing/Te Roto area – this means more money is spent in our local businesses,” she says.
“Now is the time for us to make decisions that will have long-term benefits. We need to be thinking about and planning for the future. The Chamber has long pushed for the Peka Peka Interchange, and we need four lanes to Levin. We will continue to advocate for a better transport network for the region. Otherwise, businesses will miss out on opportunities for growth,” says Ms Hutchings.