Long delays with the Peka Peka to Ōtaki section of the Kāpiti expressway will impact on the region's economic potential as it responds to Covid-19, Kāpiti's Chamber of Commerce fears.
The chamber said communities in Ōtaki have been told the current completion date for the next part of the expressway could be 2022, which also follows news that Transmission Gully is experiencing significant delays and may not open until late 2022.
However, NZTA said while there will be some delay, it will not be that bad.
James Cootes, Ōtaki councillor for the Kāpiti Coast District, claims officials from NZTA indicated at a local meeting the next part of the expressway may not be finished until at least the end of the first quarter of 2022.
"The delays to our district's two major roading projects are disappointing but understandable. I know from talking to the contractors, the impact Covid-19 has had on their operation. Added to the unavoidable delay is the addition of the shared pathway and the $50 million epoxy asphalt surface to the PP2O project, which is welcomed," James says.
The impact they have on the delivery of the project will be worth it given the positive benefits to our community.
"While the ongoing disruption to our community and extended delays to traffic flows will be frustrating, the silver lining is the continued employment and economic benefits to our community (from construction) for another two years in these uncertain economic times," James Cootes said.
Jacinda Thorn, chairwoman of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, says there is growing pressure on local roads.
"It can be difficult enough for locals to travel between Paraparaumu and Ōtaki, let alone visitors to the region. We want to be making it as easy as possible for people to experience and visit Kāpiti - and now, it looks like we will need to deal with congestion and delays for up to two years.
"We need certainty and we need the roads completed as soon as possible, and we're urging the Government and NZTA to move as quickly as possible to complete both the expressway and Transmission Gully so Kāpiti can recognise its economic potential," Jacinda Thorn said.
Andrew Thackwray, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency senior manager project delivery, said it is nothing so dramatic, but there will be a brief delay due to a number of factors.
"Work on the PP2Ō Expressway and shared path was expected to be completed in mid-2021.
"Once the impact of Covid-19 and ongoing work on the pavement and shared path is taken into account, it is reasonable to expect that there may be a delay of some months on this project.
"Any changes to the completion date or project costs are not yet confirmed as discussions with the builder are continuing. As soon as an updated contractual completion date is agreed, we will confirm any changes with the community."