Construction of the $2.5 million Upokongaro to Whanganui cycleway - which includes a new bridge over the Whanganui River - will begin next month.

The bridge is expected to be completed by March and will take the Mountains to the Sea cycleway on a new route between Upokongaro and the city.

That section currently runs along the eastern side of the river but has been officially closed since 2015 due to safety concerns as it does not provide cyclists with an alternative to cycling on the road.

When the bridge is complete, the cycleway will cross the Whanganui River south of Upokongaro and run off the main road along the western side off the river until the 50km speed limit at Aramoho.

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"The bridge at Upokongaro will take cyclists off the busiest part of the current route and onto quiet trails on the opposite side of the Whanganui River which will lead them straight into the town," Whanganui & Partners destination marketing strategic lead Paul Chaplow said.

He said the project would help grow Whanganui's cycling culture.

"The bridge will be a real asset to Whanganui not only because it improves the Mountains to Sea cycle route but because it creates more cycling options with an easily accessible, flat, cycle-friendly day ride to Upokongaro."

Half of the projected $2.54 million cost will be funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency, $600,000 comes from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with Whanganui ratepayers will picking up the rest.

Geotechnical work on the bridge site was carried out late last year.

Emmetts Civil Construction has been awarded the contract to design and build the walkway and will use B. Bullocks for the earthworks and off-road cycleway construction.

Holmes Consulting will design the bridge.