Tauranga is getting a new bridge.

A new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians link will connect Bethlehem and Gate Pa across the Takitimu Drive Toll Road, opening in May 2018.

The first phase of work started this week to build a pathway that will link from the future bridge site back into the Kopurererua walking and biking network.

A track closure is required during the pathway construction.

Tauranga City Council said the pathway that runs along the western side of the Kopurerua Stream was closed 8am to 5pm weekdays until December 22 and would be closed again 8am to 5pm on weekdays from January 8 until the new path was completed in February.

The pathway on the eastern side of the stream will remain open.

The Takitimu bridge will be assembled alongside the highway early next year before it is moved into position near Westridge Drive in April.

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The bridge design has had input from Tauranga City Council, Ngai Tamarawaho and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

A second, smaller bridge will be built over the Kopurerua Stream near Wylie St. It will follow a similar design to existing bridges in the valley.

The two bridges and new pathway are a $3 million Urban Cycleways Programme project jointly funded by the Urban Cycleways Fund and Tauranga City Council.