Drivers have been spotted going the wrong way down motorway on-ramps to avoid traffic caused by roadworks on the Kāpiti Expressway.

Herald photographer Mark Mitchell said he could also see cars backing down the motorway shoulder to escape the congestion building up as roadworks continued through rush hour yesterday.

Police have also posted a photo on social media showing two cars performing U-turns and heading the wrong way down the Mackays Crossing on-ramp, against the flow of traffic.

Mitchell said the illegal manoeuvres were caused by badly timed resurfacing works, which added 45 minutes to his evening commute.

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"They closed the left-hand lane a few hundred metres south of the Poplar Rd exit, because they had to remove the old surface," he said.

🚔 UPDATE 🚔 We are here - we are watching to ensure people are safe. Note that you do not have to merge immediately at...

Posted by Wellington District Police on Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The traffic was moving so slowly that a cyclist managed to beat Mitchell from Plimmerton to Raumati, a journey of more than 20km.

He questioned why the works had to be carried out during rush hour.

"It just shows their contempt for the long-suffering Kāpiti Coast commuters," he said.

"Nobody seems to be accountable for making decisions like that when they've got a lane and the expressway dug up at the peak evening commuting time.

"We end up with traffic chaos."

He wondered why NZTA could not organise the roadworks to be done at a less inconvenient time for motorists.

"We've just come off two weeks of school holidays where the traffic was way lighter than normal, that should've been a better time and why not do it at night?"

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Police have warned officers will be out in the area today watching for drivers trying to backtrack and take an alternate route.

There are also cameras operating in the area.

Traffic offenders will get a ticket but can also be charged for operating a vehicle in a manner liable to cause damage, injury, or annoyance.

Police also have the option of charging motorists with careless driving or something more serious if their actions result in an accident or near miss.

NZTA senior project delivery manager Karen Boyt said the roadworks were part of the ongoing resurfacing works on the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway.

"To ensure the safety of our contractors and limit delays for motorists, the work is scheduled to finish at 3.30pm before peak traffic hours every weekday. However, yesterday the contractors were required to carry out more extensive milling of the surface that took much longer than expected, causing significant delays for motorists.

"The Transport Agency has spoken to the contractor about our expectations and we do not expect this to happen again. We apologise for the disruption.

"The resurfacing between the Mackays and Raumati is expected to be completed by 3.30pm on Friday 3 May. The full schedule of resurfacing works on the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway is expected to be completed by September 2019, depending on the weather."

The 18km expressway, costing $630 million, was officially opened in February 2017, but some months later minor fatigue of the surface began to be noticed.

It appeared the fatigue was caused by water penetrating the membrane seal that was applied to the pavement prior to the surfacing, meaning small particles had been loosened in the top of the pavement causing discolouration and texture changes.

Extensive resurfacing works began later in the year.