A Hawke's Bay highway crossing where a woman pushing a bicycle was killed last year will be upgraded as part of a $2.7 million road safety project.

The Government today announced funding for a new separated walking and cycleway path along Napier's Chambers and Ellison Sts, one of the region's "shovel-ready" projects.

It will also provide safer access for students and residents across Marine Parade and State Highway 51 where Tangiwai Lyola Cotter, 80, died trying to cross with her bike last year, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Police Minister Stuart Nash said today.

Napier City Council manager design and project James Mear said the council was finalising the design phase. Construction was expected to begin in three to six months and take about four to five months.

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Mear said council was looking to employ between six and 10 people for the project.

Nash intended to make the announcement in Napier but fog delayed his flight from Wellington. Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise attended in his place.

Wise said it was one of "dozens" of projects the council put forward to the Government this year and the council was "thrilled" to receive funding.

Twyford said the separated path would close a gap in the walking and cycling network between the shared path on Chambers St and Marine Parade along Ellison St, and along Te Awa Ave from Ellison St to Napier Boys' High School.

The project will create off-road access and upgrade SH51 and Marine Parade road crossings.

It will also include a connection along Te Awa Ave from Ellison St to the Napier Boys' High School sports field, Twyford said.

The green line shows where the new cycle and walkway will be. Image / Napier City Council
The green line shows where the new cycle and walkway will be. Image / Napier City Council

"Significant numbers of commuters and recreational users use this area but this gap means there is not a continuous safe and reliable route."

Nash, in a written statement, said the local community had "serious concerns" about road safety in this area which is heavily used by students, commuters and people walking, jogging and cycling.

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"This is a dangerous part of our off-road network.

"This cross-city connection is further restricted by the railway line, which means there are only a small number of places to cross safely. This means people tend to use less-than-safe crossing options.

"Just last year a much-loved 80-year-old local woman was tragically killed while cycling near the Ellison St intersection.

"Her wider family, including 47 mokopuna and 30 great-mokopuna gathered to mourn her. It reinforced that every single road death casts a long shadow.

The announcement was made by Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Minister of Police Stuart Nash. Photo / File
The announcement was made by Minister of Transport Phil Twyford and Minister of Police Stuart Nash. Photo / File

"This project will reduce the time those crossing the road are exposed to live traffic by narrowing the road."

About $2.7 million has been allocated from the $50 billion Covid Response and Recovery Fund.

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Nash also said more New Zealanders were choosing to walk, cycle or use e-scooters so it was "important the Government keeps up with these changes and keeps people safe".