$160k bridge for Western Bay cycleway

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An example of the suspension bridge design chosen for the Uretara Stream crossing. Photo/supplied
An example of the suspension bridge design chosen for the Uretara Stream crossing. Photo/supplied

Cyclists and walkers in Katikati will be able to cross the Uretara Stream via a new $160,000 suspension bridge to be built to extend the growing network of cycle trails around the town.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has selected the new suspension bridge, designed by Abseil Access Limited, from 11 concept designs submitted by five bridge building companies.

The single-span bridge provides a link across the Uretara stream where the old railway line used to go, approximately due South of the south end of Uretara Drive and connects to the footpath along the top of the stop-bank on Uretara Drive.

Council's reserves and facilities project and assets manager Scott Parker said the design stands out for its rustic look and its potential to include decorative panels on the towers at either end. It is one of only two of the 11 designs that fell within the $250,000 budget for the project.

While the suspension design naturally incorporates some movement this would be minimal and can be further stabilised, Mr Parker said.

The suspension bridge was also the clear winner of choice by Katikati's Project Control Group that met to consider the 11 design options. The group comprises representatives of the local Ngai Tamawhariua, the Community Board and Katikati Cycle Trails.

Councillor Garry Webber said the bridge is an ideal concept that reflects the Western Bay character and it aligns with New Zealanders' "love of swing bridges".

Councillors were unanimous in their support of the suspension design, particularly with its potential for Katikati artists to decorate the bridge towers with murals or carvings.

The bridge crossing will be constructed later this year, pending resource consent, and is part of Council's Long Term Plan budget for 2016/17.

Abseil Access Ltd is based in Wellington and Christchurch and specialises in suspension bridges. Since 2006 the company has built 36 suspension bridges including the Karori Sanctuary bridge, the Heaphy River bridge and the PacPherson bridge on the West Coast wilderness trail.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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