Wellington Scoop

Ready late next year: Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway, with 10 new bridges

News from NZ Transport Agency/Waka Kotahi
One of the more complex engineering projects in the lower North Island is entering the final stretch, with work on the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP2Ō) almost three-quarters complete.

“PP2Ō is an extremely complex infrastructure project, with constantly changing demands and challenges,” says Andrew Thackwray, National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.

“It is going to be a fantastic addition to the state highway network in the Wellington region and we know how much the community is looking forward to using it.”

The project has been a mammoth undertaking, involving construction of ten bridges including the 330m long Ōtaki River bridge, a 1.3km realignment of the North Island Main Trunk Line, the construction of almost 9km of local roads, challenging geotechnical ground conditions and extensive cultural and heritage considerations.

Since construction on the PP2Ō project began in 2017 there have been numerous changes to the project scope, including the design and construction of a shared walking and cycling path alongside the expressway and upgrades to the road pavement and surface, which will result in reduced road noise and lower maintenance costs.

While PP2Ō was one of the first major projects nationwide to get back up and running after the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown, the disruption, along with other changes and challenges, has impacted the project timeframe.

Since the Level 4 lockdown in 2020, Waka Kotahi and Fletcher Construction have been engaged in negotiations regarding a new opening date and contractual completion date, recognising changes to the project scope and several unforeseen challenges.

Through those negotiations, Waka Kotahi now expects the expressway to open to traffic in late 2022.

“As we get closer to completion, we will have more certainty about a specific opening date and how the new road will change people’s journeys throughout the region,” says Mr Thackwray.

“We thank the community for their ongoing support while construction continues.”

PP2Ō is a 13km, grade-separated expressway that will offer major safety improvements, offer increased travel time reliability for people and freight, and reduce increasingly severe congestion at major pinch points such as Ōtaki.

When the four-lane expressway opens it will connect with the 18km Mackays to Peka Peka expressway and the 27km Transmission Gully motorway to provide more reliable journeys to and from Wellington.


  1. Angle Grinder, 11. June 2021, 13:48

    It’s mad how long this has taken to build.

  2. Gwynn Compton, 11. June 2021, 14:35

    PP2Ō opening date now officially pushed back to late 2022. There have been rumours swirling about that there was a delay coming, which isn’t surprising when you look at the work still needing to be completed, especially on the southern end of the project. Question is which will open first – Transmission Gully or PP2Ō? And makes me think the timeline of 2025-2029 for Ōtaki to north of Levin isn’t realistic, especially given similar, if not trickier terrain in the south, and being 11km longer. [via twitter]

  3. Greenwelly, 11. June 2021, 14:49

    Gwynn, TG will open this year. While the southern end of PP2O still requires work, surely they could look at using other parts… I mean they have already started laying asphalt north of Marycrest.

  4. Steve, 11. June 2021, 15:24

    Well it would be completed already if they had hired people who did the work they are paid to do. I drive on this road daily, and have seen little progress in the last 12 months since they got back to work after lockdown. Time and time again I drive by and the entire workforce is sitting around having a smoke or checking their phones. If I spent that much time doing nothing at my job, I’d be fired. Hire some decent supervisors to make sure these people work their 9-5:30 hours like everyone else. Failing to do so results in delays, which results in budget overages. So effectively, the taxpayers are paying for construction crews to rest :-/

  5. Ross Clark, 11. June 2021, 23:33

    What will be the effect on public transport demand of all this road investment?

  6. luke, 12. June 2021, 12:06

    Will there be a cycleway from Otaki to Waikanae once this project is complete?

  7. Mike Mellor, 12. June 2021, 12:41

    Ross, I don’t know about the effect of PP2O on public transport demand, but NZTA’s evidence to the TG Board of Inquiry was that that road would reduce patronage on the Kapiti rail line by 25% compared with what it would otherwise have been.

  8. Greenwelly, 14. June 2021, 14:13

    Luke, the shared path will extend from Waikanae to Otaki, (and continue the current path that goes all the way to Raumati and then on to the Paths through QE2 Park to Paekakariki. One imagines that O2NL will continue this.

  9. Dave B, 14. June 2021, 18:05

    We sorely need the PB2P railway-widening scheme to be progressed. Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki requires double-tracking. Stop spending on roads, roads, roads. . .

  10. NigelTwo, 14. June 2021, 19:01

    Luke, Planning of this shared path is cited as a reason for the delay to this project.
    You can find the plans/drawings on the NZTA website here:
    They take a bit of studying, and it looks to me that the end result will not be as grand as the Raumati to Peka Peka paths.