The NZ Herald reports:

“Transport Minister Michael Wood says no one is wasting any time as the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway north of Wellington enters a critical stage in its construction.

“A pre-Christmas opening is now down to the wire and contractors are relying on good weather to complete sealing work.

“A bypass of Ōtaki, the road will join up with the existing Kāpiti expressway to the south and eventually the planned Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway.

Last week Waka Kotahi [NZTA} principal project manager Glen Prince said they were doing every they could to get the road open for Christmas, but there was now very little contingency in the program.

“Our program is extremely tight. We’re doing what we can at the moment, but certainly nothing is set in stone at this stage.”

Prince said there were other problems that could affect the road, along with the weather, like Covid-19 cases starting to crop up in the construction team and residual supply chain difficulties.

The 13km road hit a speed bump earlier this year when thousands of tonnes of asphalt had to be ripped up after problematic pockets of air were discovered.

Air voids outside of the design range were found in about 7,900 tonnes of asphalt. This problem can damage the asphalt under traffic, leading to early failure of the road.

The four-lane expressway, of which construction started in 2017, was meant to open in 2020.

Full article

As people know, the Jacinda government allowed the Marsden Point refinery to close earlier this year, and many blame that for the poor quality asphalt now being used by the NZTA. —Eds