$17m boost for Bay cycling and walking tracks

By Kiri Gillespie

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Cyclists gathered to prompt the council to contribute its $500k portion to the Omokoroa to Otumoetai cycleway last year. Photo/file
Cyclists gathered to prompt the council to contribute its $500k portion to the Omokoroa to Otumoetai cycleway last year. Photo/file

Western Bay of Plenty is set to reap a $17 million cash injection for more cycling and walking projects.

Transport Minister, and Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges made the announcement at the opening of a new cycleway linking Paengaroa with Papamoa this afternoon.

The $600,000 Papamoa to Paengaroa Trail spans 10kms and runs from Te Tumu Rd and follows the Te Puke Highway into Paengaroa village.

Read more: Council says 'no' to Tauranga cycleway

Work will also soon begin on a $1.8m bridge that will take pedestrians and cyclists over State Highway 29A at Poike Rd.

"The new walking and cycling overbridge will connect Ohauiti with Windemere polytechnic campus, creating a safe way for people to cross this busy intersection," Mr Bridges said.

"There are plans to extend this project towards Welcome Bay Rd to connect with walking and cycling upgrades that will be built as part of the Maungatapu Underpass project."

Mr Bridges said the two projects were part of a central and local government plan to create a cycle network that will better connect the Western Bay.

"Approximately $17m is set to be injected into cycling and walking projects in the region over the next three years.

"Other projects in the pipeline include the $8.7m Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway and a $6.9m spend to connect cycle links around Tauranga."

Mr Bridges said making urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice was a top priority.

"Through the Urban Cycleways Programme central and local government are working together to deliver $333m of new cycleway projects throughout the country over the next three years - the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand's history,'' he said.

"We're investing to give more New Zealanders more opportunities to choose cycling - whether to commute to and from work and school, to run errands, or get some exercise."

Over the next three years 54 projects are scheduled to be completed through the Urban Cycleways Programme. Four cycleways are already complete in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

More information about the Urban Cycleways Programme can be found at: www.nzta.govt.nz/UCP.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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