A new cyclist and pedestrian bridge over the busy State Highway 29 is part of an investment of about $30 million into the Western Bay of Plenty's cycleways, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
The latest cycleway in the region was officially opened yesterday by Mr Bridges - a $600,000, 10km trail completing the link from Paengaroa to Papamoa.
It's good news for bikers but it's got to be strong encouragement to the men, women or children who have been thinking about it to give it a go as well.
The next project in the region's cycle network was to build a bridge over State Highway 29 at the Poike Rd roundabout to be used by cyclists and pedestrians, priced at $1.8 million.
The bridge would create a cycle link between the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Ohauiti, Welcome Bay and the under construction Maungatapu Underpass.
Mr Bridges said the Poike project was something the New Zealand Transport Agency had been planning because of the growth in that part of Tauranga and a desire to see polytech students getting on their bikes.
"What's really cool is the way it will ultimately link up with Maungatapu and Welcome Bay and the wider network of cycleways.
"Whether you're in Ohauiti or Papamoa, you will be able to get around the city by bike."
Other upcoming projects include the $8.7 million Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway and the $6.9 million Tauranga Urban Cycleway Network Connections, which will complete the final 60km of 10 commuter routes that connect residential areas with commercial zones, schools and other key destinations.
Mr Bridges said there was $17 million being invested into cycleways in Tauranga and the Western Bay but when other significant projects were added in, such as the cycleway along the Tauranga Eastern Link, total investment in local cycleways was closer to $30 million.
"It's good news for bikers but it's got to be strong encouragement to the men, women or children who have been thinking about it to give it a go as well."
The cycleways would be a boon for the economy, bringing domestic and international tourists to the region, Mr Bridges said.
Paengaroa School pupil Dylan Cameron, 9, had his first ride on the cycleway yesterday. He and other children from the school brought their bikes to the opening ceremony to have a test run.
"It was amazing. We went about half way, it was very smooth."
Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said this cycleway was the first in a considerable capital works programme throughout the district.
"We're working in collaboration with Tauranga City Council to give us subregional infrastructure from Waihi right through to Paengaroa.
"It's a development that brings people to the district. We're looking to enjoy what we've got and this is part of it."