A recently released report by the AA Research Foundation, Safety Benefits of New Roads, shows that the Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Kāpiti Expressway (M2PP) has significantly improved both the focus area of improvement and surrounding districts. The opening of M2PP in 2017 has led to a 62% reduction in deaths and serious injuries, with a single fatality yet to occur on the stretch. The opening of two new road sections last year, Te Aranui o Te Rangihaeata – Transmission Gully Motorway (TG) and the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP2O) promise similar hope in road safety progress, each significantly reducing accidents and deaths.

Monique Leith, Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Co-Chair, says these changes not only represent increased security for vehicular travel, but in productivity and well-being.

“The increased certainty around travel and time spent travelling is life-changing for the energy levels of weary commuters who have battled traffic, long commute times, and unpredictable road closures for many years” says Monique Leith. Increased security and productivity have flow-on economic benefits, with many in Kāpiti feeling that business has already improved from TG, and early results from the PP2O look hopeful for Ōtaki.

“The elevated level of resilience now enjoyed from increased safety, mental well-being, ease of use, and encouraging economic benefits all strengthen the case for completion of the northern-most section of the project – Ōtaki to North of Levin (O2NL)” says Monique Leith. High-incident areas along the current stretch have seen 19 deaths and 56 serious injuries over the past five years, clearly signalling an update to the road is urgently needed to save lives. “Not only do these road incidents represent devastating tragedies that send shockwaves through our communities, the resulting traffic congestion and uncertainty take a toll that threatens local economies” Monique Leith says. Aware of how vitally important O2NL is to resolve existing congestion issues and complete the expressway corridor, Chamber’s advocacy subcommittee will continue to keep a close eye on project developments and champion their progress.