Work on the new Mountains to Sea cycle and foot bridge near Ūpokongaro will be finished in six weeks - weather permitting, Whanganui District Council chief executive Kym Fell says.

The deck and handrails of the bridge are being added and work is being done on the abutments on both sides of the Whanganui River, and on their approaches.

The bridge could not be used until an easement had been agreed and it had safety audits and sign-off for its construction reports, Fell said.

The main contractor is Emmetts Civil Construction and Crane Services.


The project began with a budget of $2.3 million - $1.25 million from the New Zealand Transport Agency, $670,000 from Whanganui District Council and $600,000 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The bridge is a missing link in the Mountains to Sea cycleway that starts on Mt Ruapehū and finishes at North Mole in Whanganui. It directs cyclists across the river at Ūpokongaro to finish their journey on the western side.

It is also on the 3000km Te Araroa trail, from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

The 130m-long suspension bridge was to have been in place by April last year. It was delayed by the need to consult local hapū about a change to its resource consent.

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That is required under the Te Awa Tupua legislation passed in early 2017, which gives the Whanganui River legal personhood.

The bridge was finally launched on March 25, just before Covid-19 level 4 lockdown began.

All the delays may have increased its cost. The council did not respond to the Chronicle's questions about that total, and how it will be paid.