by Geoffrey Churchman
The ceremonial ribbon cutting by Jacinda (naturally wearing one of her beloved face nappies) took place yesterday and today plenty of cars and trucks were driving over it.
As a Kapiti roving reporter I was one of those who decided to make a sightseeing drive today to experience what this long discussed and 8 years-in-the-building 27 km stretch of highway is like as a motorist.
Driving southbound from Kapiti the immediate thing you notice is that the gradient is steep (see the pic above); as steep as the Ngauranga Gorge and longer; and it isn’t the only serious gradient. You can’t help wonder whether time savings are going to be made up by higher fuel consumption. A year ago when petrol in NZ cost $2 per litre at the pump, that was significant enough; now with the fuel cost increases caused by the Globalists — including the Biden administration and NATO — that is sure to be a cause of reflection by ordinary people.
According to the NZTA fact sheet, below, the maximum gradient is 8% and arrester beds for out of control vehicles are provided.
There are some big exposed cliff cuts covered in concrete and overall it’s not quite as pleasant a drive as the Kapiti ‘Ewy’ is, but there are still areas of some scenic interest. In one spot I noticed on someone’s property a decorative metal bridge that is painted with rainbow colours, the Rainbow Bridge.
As a motorway it is “no stopping, no pedestrians, cyclists or horses”, but there are some bays where pulling in for emergency needs is provided for. Presumably, however, the main users of these will be government revenue raisers.
As it goes through Ngati Toa’s rohe [territory] they have named the motorway Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata (the big path of Te Rangihaeata — see here) and have also gifted the name Te Ara Kāpehu (the compass path) to the road connecting Whitby to the Transmission Gully motorway.
We expect most people will simply call it the TG route, however.
Apihaka Mack of Ngātiawa ki Kapiti tells us: “I don’t have an issue with Rangihaeata. My Grandmother, Grandfather, Father and Uncles are buried in the same urupa [burial ground/cemetery] at Hongoeka, the old one by the gate. Ngātiawa — Ani Retimana — was given land beside the Rangihaeata family at Hongoeka Bay; the hill above the old quarry and foreshore. I own it with 20 other Mullen siblings and cousins. Rangihaeata w’anau in 2020 declared 100% support for research I have done for the Ngātiawa ki Kapiti Wai 1018 claim. I was not to give my research to anyone, meaning all historical Native Land Court records from Hongoeka to Whangaehu.”
The most important aspect of all about the new motorway is that it provides an alternative, streamlined extra road to the hitherto SH1 through Paramata and Plimmerton.
But the question most will have is — how many lane closures for remedial work will be required in the coming months and years? The Telecommunications Forum says some digging up will have to happen to eliminate cell tower black spots — NZ Herald article