Construction on the new $330 million Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway got under way last week.

The project will reduce congestion and provide safer, more efficient and more reliable journeys through the Kapiti area, connecting with the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway in the south.

"The 13km of four-lane expressway project also includes 9km of local roads, a new 330-metre Otaki River crossing, overbridges at Rahui Rd and at School Rd in Te Horo and proposed options for better walking and cycling access," NZ Transport Agency director of regional relationships Emma Speight said.

She said 1.3km of railway tracks will also be moved to ensure all modes of transport are well considered and are properly catered for.

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Ms Speight has also congratulated Fletchers Construction, the project's constructor, for winning Nga Tohu Reo Maori 2017 — at the Maori Language Awards.

Fletchers was nominated alongside community partners Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rito in the Pakihi — Business category for bi-lingual site signage on the Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway.

"The award is recognition of Fletchers' commitment to developing of constructive relationships with communities it's working in and for.

"There are four kohanga, two Maori immersion schools and two bilingual units within mainstream schools in Otaki, so the signage has added real value from a health and safety perspective as well as cultural one."

Otaki ward councillor James Cootes said the construction start was "great for Otaki".
"With the construction will come a boost to our local economy both in employment and money spent.

"Completion of the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway section has shown us the local economy continues to grow.

"Once finished the road will elevate frustrating traffic delays and enhance Otaki's reputation as a destination as travel to and from becomes safer and faster."

The Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway is expected to open in 2020.