The new swing bridge linking the Tukituki Trails in Waipukurau and Waipawa is not due to officially open until early in the New Year, but people should be able to walk over it by the end of this week.

Wellington-based contractors Abseil Access have finished their work on the $225,000 bridge - which spans 100m over the Tukituki River to link the limesand cycle paths trails in Waipukurau and Waipawa - leaving only the access ramp on the Waipawa side still to be completed.

The 1.2m-wide bridge passed a load test on November 22 and can carry a maximum of 10 people at a time.

Martina Groves, flood control-scheme team leader at Hawke's Bay Regional Council, which has assumed ownership of the bridge, welcomed people down to the river to have a look at it.


But despite its finished appearance, she advised people to wait until the remaining work was completed before walking on it.

"People just need to be aware that at this stage it's not finished, but realistically by the end of [this] week the major stuff will be completed. Really it's just the ramp on the Waipawa side that needs to be finished. After that, it's good to be used."

Havelock North photographer Tim Whittaker has taken aerial photos of the bridge, which Rotary River Pathways Trust chairman Roy Fraser described as "magic".

"I encourage everyone to go and have a look. If you haven't got a bike or don't want to walk too far it can be accessed from the end of Mt Herbert Rd or Tapairu Rd.

"It is a great community asset and on behalf of the Rotary River Pathways Trust I would like to thank all those involved in putting the project together or supporting it with their donations."

Mr Fraser said planning for an official opening was under way but a final date was yet to be set.

It has taken three years of planning, designing and fundraising to build the bridge, one of the cogs in a plan to market CHB as a cycling destination.

It will create a loop between the two towns by linking the pathways at the end of Mt Herbert Rd in Waipukurau and Tapairu Rd in Waipawa.


The paths also will connect with Gum Tree Farm Mountain Bike Park, which is being developed on more regional council-owned land at the end of Mt Herbert Rd.