Work has begun on completing a missing link of a shared cycleway and pedestrian path beside the Mt Roskill motorway.
Bulldozers are clearing a 360m passage across the northern slope of the suburb's volcanic cone, Puketapapa, after the Auckland City Council found the pathway and a comprehensive landscaping project could be completed for just over $1.2 million.
That cost includes a subsidy from the Transport Agency.
The agency spent a similar amount building a cycleway beside the rest of the 4.5km motorway extension.
But completion of the mountain section was complicated by trickier terrain and a need to satisfy resource consent requirements to preserve the cultural and heritage values of the slope.
Fear of a budget blowout to $1.89 million prompted the council to delay the project before the motorway opened in May, leading to months of frustration for cyclists.
Roskill Community Board chairman Richard Barter, whose cycle ride to work is interrupted by the missing mountain section, is relieved the council now expects to complete the shared pathway by March and the overall landscaping programme by June.
Fifteen of 32 introduced phoenix palms have been removed from the foot of the mountain to make way for the project.
Mr Barter said the palms would be replaced by hundreds of native plants so the slope would look much as it did in pre-European days.
"The state of landscaping will be very high rather than leaving it looking like the shaved end of a sheep," he said.By Mathew Dearnaley Email Mathew