Rotorua Lakes Council has announced the middle section of Long Mile Rd is currently being upgraded as part of the Whakarewarewa Forest development.

This stage of the upgrade included progressing the 3 metre-wide shared path down Long Mile Rd to provide a safe and user-friendly pathway for pedestrians, runners, cyclists and other wheeled devices, according to a written statement from the council.

It will also involve building car parks around Scion's Tree Archive and the dog walking park, drainage improvement work in the area and landscaping.

The gravel carpark near the entrance to Scion's Tree Archive and the dog walking park was closed to vehicles from yesterday and 41 new formalised car parks will be created along the fence line in this area.

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Pedestrian access to the park will remain as it currently is.

Traffic management is in place while this work is under way and the council said it appreciated people's patience during this time.

The Whakarewarewa Forest development is a collaborative project between Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, CNI Iwi Holdings, and Rotorua Lakes Council.

The council is managing an investment of $14.5 million to enhance the forest amenity and improve the experience for all users.

Council allocated $7.5 million to the project in its 2018 – 2028 Long-term Plan with $7 million to be contributed by Central Government from its Provincial Growth Fund to enable the project to be completed over the next three years.

The project includes the Long Mile Rd upgrade, the construction of a new Visitor Centre at the Redwoods and a new forest hub on Tarawera Rd.