The Government has announced $1.3 million of additional funding to extend Hawke's Bay's cycle trails network.
Hawke's Bay Trails officially opened in 2012 and consists of nearly 200km of off-road cycle trails. There were more than 600,000 trips recorded across the network last year, with research indicating 60 per cent of trail use is by locals and 40 per cent by visitors to the region.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, who is in the region, announced the investment to create an extra 34.5km of new cycle ways around Napier and Hastings on Thursday afternoon.
The three projects to gain funding in Hawke's Bay are:
•A 7.5km Bay View to Whirinaki extension which extends the popular Hawke's Bay coastal trails northwards.
•A 16km Ngaruroro Explorer which will provide an attractive, easy and off-road loop route around the Ngaruroro River.
•A 11km Karamu Stream extension which will create a safe, off-road link to the Wineries Ride.
It is part of a $2.3m investment in the Great Rides which draw visitors to the regions, from the New Zealand Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund that provides up to $6m each year to extend or improve the 22 Great Rides.
The cost will be split between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and local councils over the five years from 2018 to 2022, with close collaboration with NZ Transport Agency and the local community.
The Hawke's Bay Trails was also one of the seven trails to receive funding from the Maintaining the Quality of Great Ride Fund (MGR) round 10.
A further $55,000 will go towards trail surface, signage and landscaping improvements at the Black Bridge underpass to improve user safety.
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said it was "very pleased with this contribution and the opportunity to now improve the safety and size of our popular cycle network".
Hawke's Bay Regional Council cycle network co-ordinator Vicki Butterworth said it was great news.
She says the main safety benefits come from diverting cyclists away from busy, narrow roads, with a better, quieter experience for trail users.
The trails are funded and maintained by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Hastings District and Napier City councils.