Plans to construct an 'iconic' cycleway bridge over the Wairoa River have been shelved in favour of a more pragmatic and affordable design.
The bridge was to be a key feature of the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycleway but is no longer feasible due to higher than expected costs.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council deputy chief executive Gary Allis said that based on the initial concept, it was estimated the bridge would cost around $6.5m but updated estimates following geotechnical testing and engineering design have shown that it was no longer the best option in terms of value for ratepayers.
"Our focus is on delivering an iconic cycle trail through some picturesque parts of the Bay of Plenty, which we hope will be a drawcard both for locals and commuters and also as an attraction for tourists. We are committed to completing the project whilst also ensuring we deliver value for our ratepayers.
"Since our initial concept plans engineering surveys have shown the site wouldn't suit a bridge design like this and we've had to be honest about what we can achieve within the budget."
The council said in a statement it would continue to work with partners on the project to find a solution that works for the site and is achievable within budget.
The trail is an Urban Cycleways Programme project, jointly funded by central government, the NZ Transport Agency, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council with additional contributions from the NZ Community Trust, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust and the Omokoroa Community Board.
The planned 19km route will be made up of both new and existing off-road shared paths and local road connections that will provide a link between the growing township of Omokoroa and Tauranga City's existing urban cycleway network.