Wellington Scoop

It’s called the Peka Peka expressway – but it doesn’t take you to Peka Peka

by Lindsay Shelton
I thought I’d drive to Peka Peka a few days ago. So I confidently headed north on the new Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway. Bad mistake. The expressway doesn’t stop at Peka Peka.

Perhaps I should have done some checking. But with a name like that, what was there to check? At Mackays Crossing, the signage was clear: Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway.

Then as I drove past the Waikanae offramp, I glimpsed a small sign saying Peka Peka. I discounted it, because I know the difference between the two towns.

But … where was the Peka Peka offramp from the expressway to Peka Peka? Turns out there isn’t one. The expressway to Peka Peka bypasses Peka Peka, heading past the settlement on to a crowded part of the old State Highway One, with no suggestions of how to get back to where you thought the expressway was taking you.

Of course, I should have paid attention to a report indicating that locals are asking for an offramp (though they’re calling it an interchange). They’re hoping it’ll be added when the next stage of the expressway is built – that’s the expressway to Otaki, which no doubt will be bypassing Otaki.

Getting back on to the expressway after a visit to Peka Peka is quite a trip. There’s a flyover that takes you over the new expressway and on to the old State Highway One, on which you head to Waikanae (with deserted streets since the through traffic is gone), then you turn on to Te Moana Road and drive slowly almost to the beach before you find the onramp back to town.

As you drive south, you can’t help thinking about the problems of the locals who were promised that the new expressway wouldn’t be noisy, but who have discovered the promises were not true

Noise issues were first mentioned when the eexpressway opened in February.

Then last month we learnt how bad things are. And this month the tired and angry locals confronted the roadbuilders to repeat their concerns.

Not to mention the wellknown delays, which are now proved by data from the Transport Agency.

It’s an expressway with consequences that don’t seem to have been expected by its designers. Including their decision to name it for a settlement where the new road doesn’t take you.


  1. Henry Filth, 21. May 2017, 0:07

    Its called an expressway. To me that implies a limited access road. If there’s an interchange at every possible junction, it stops being an expressway. In my view the secondary roading network is inadequate – not up to the job of getting local traffic to and from the main road.

  2. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 21. May 2017, 20:26

    Peka Peka does indeed appear to have caused a problem for NZTA. As it stands, you can easily travel from Peka Peka to Otaki, as the expressway ends just north of the old Peka Peka Rd junction with SH1, where there’s now an on-ramp from the realigned old SH1. And you can get from Otaki to Peka Peka by a slightly circuitous route, taking the off-ramp just where the expressway starts and doubling back over the new overbridge that carries the old SH1. But Wellington to Peka Peka and vice-versa are problematic. I can’t understand why a northbound off-ramp wasn’t provided – it should have been fairly straightforward, although a southbound on-ramp would have been somewhat more expensive. You can see where these ramps would be, as Google Earth has recently been updated.

    There was no reference to Peka Peka on signage for the northbound Waikanae off-ramp when the expressway opened. Then a temporary trailer-mounted matrix sign appeared, to be superseded recently by a permanent green sign. Meanwhile, traffic coming off the northbound expressway and onto Te Moana Road had no direction sign, and drivers could have been excused for heading straight across Te Moana Rd and back onto the northbound on-ramp. A sign has now appeared, directing Peka Peka traffic to go via Waikanae, instead of Waikanae Beach, which is surely shorter and quicker.

    It’s not clear why NZTA dropped the ball on this one, given that just about every other element of the expressway was so carefully planned. As it stands, I think there’s a risk that drivers heading from Peka Peka to Wellington could be tempted to make a very risky u-turn on SH1 just north of the northern end of the expressway, in order to join it for a faster trip south. Hopefully these shortcomings will be resolved as part of the extended expressway to Otaki.

  3. Peter Brownie, 2. July 2017, 13:28

    There is no off ramp at Peka Peka as the Kapiti Coast council did a deal with landowners south of Waikanae to stop development in Te Horo to help development plans for south of Waikanae.