Work has started on the Wairoa River Bridge cycleway, which will complete the final link in the $13 million Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycle trail.
Contractor Brian Perry Civil Limited will attach the 177m steel cycleway to the downstream side of the Wairoa Bridge on State Highway 2.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council deputy chief executive Gary Allis said the cycle bridge will be completed before Christmas.
"This will be the final link of the Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway and give a scenic, safe and fully accessible route for cyclists to travel across the Wairoa River," he said.
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber said it was great the entire cycleway was close to completion, with just small sections left to link to the Wairoa Bridge.
"This has been a marathon project for the council spanning several years and its completion is tribute to the many people and organisations involved in the design, construction and funding of the trail," he said.
Webber said the cycle trail will be a huge asset to both the district and the city.
"It will provide safe journeys to the city for cyclists and, for our visitors, it will serve as a showcase to the wonderful harbour edge of Western Bay," he said.
Local hapu Ngati Kahu supported the cycleway across the bridge and kaumatua Lou Te Keeti has liaised with senior council representatives on the project.
Brian Perry Civil branch manager Adam Plimmer said his company has worked on the construction planning from the early stages.
"We are pleased to bring innovation and sound construction knowledge to the team and we look forward to delivering a successful project for the stakeholders and community," he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency manager of system management Bay of Plenty, Rob Campbell, said the cycle trail will be an integral part of Tauranga and the Western Bay's growing cycling network.
At the Wairoa Rd side, the bridge extension will transition to a path connecting with the Te Puna Station Rd cycleway, which has just been completed.
On the Bethlehem side, there will be a 3m wide concrete cycleway from the bridge, past the Wairoa Marae, connecting to the Tauranga City cycleway network at Carmichael Rd.
Provision will be made for a future cycleway extension to be added on the upstream side of Wairoa Bridge. This would connect to Taniwha Place once the Wairoa Active Reserve is developed by Tauranga City Council.
The Ōmokoroa to Tauranga Cycle Trail has a budget of $13m.
The project is funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency ($8.05m) and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust ($1m), Tauranga City Council ($1m) New Zealand Community Trust ($1m) and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council ($1.81m) and others.