Six years after the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway was given the green light and the community divided over the anticipated 18km road, thousands of people gathered to celebrate the project at a community open day on Saturday.
More than 21,000 people made their way to the Kapiti Coast ExpressDay at Paraparaumu's Te Roto Drive and Waikanae's Te Moana Rd sites, where they had the chance to make their way across 5km of the road via foot, bike and bus for the first time.
Among them was Wellingtonian Jonathan Alve, who was impressed with his walk along the soon to open $630 million road.
"We come up to the coast a lot and so we've been able to see the whole thing develop.
"The bridges are quite impressive and from up there you get a sense of the scale of the project.
"You can see just how far the road goes in every direction, so it's a pretty enormous undertaking."
He said the ExpressDay was the only chance people had to stand foot on the road.
"It's nice to be a part of this event, which is really well put on."
As part of the event, gold coin donations were collected for the project's two main charity partners, Kapiti Youth Support and Mary Potter Hospice.
Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board chairman Jonny Best was among guests pleased to see the sun out and a busy flow of foot traffic on the day, which included 11 courtesy Mana Coach Services buses that took guests on an Express Tour.
"At the beginning there was a lot of angst about the expressway, but I think we've ended up with something the community can be really proud of," said Mr Best, also chair of the expressway's Community Liaison Group.
He said the thousands of visitors was a testament to the positive work done by the Mackays to Peka Peka Alliance and its handling of residents living in areas affected by expressway work.
"You can't always please everyone.
"But I've been fortunate enough to ride the entire root of the expressway and it's looking fantastic."