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New Kapiti expressway

A 5km section for the new Kapiti expressway was opened today to pedestrians and cyclists. There was also a special bus for those who couldn’t walk 5km. This section of the new road is from Waikanae to Paraparumu, but the 18km part of the new road from Mackay’s Crossing to Peka Peka will open next week for cars. This section has 18 bridges and includes cycleways and walkways. Work started on construction 3 years ago. It has cost $630m.

The next stage will take the 4-lane expressway to Otaki. This should start in the middle of next year.

When the project is finally finished, it will link with a motorway from Wellington through Transmission Gully.

Wellington city is vulnerable in some respects because there are only two roads out of the city. In the event of snow on the Rimutaka Hills, there is only the western coastal road which goes through the Kapiti area and part of that is only two lanes. It is very often congested during rush hours. If there is a major accident, the road can be closed for some time.

In the event of an earthquake in Wellington, people need to be able to leave the city in a hurry.

Vocabulary

• expressway – 4 lane highway, with some traffic lights
• motorway – a highway with at least 4 lanes without traffic lights; cars have a separate lane to enter and exit
• vulnerable – at risk
• in some respects – in some ways
• in the event of snow or an earthquake– if snow or an earthquake happens
• congested – crowded