After several delays, the Upokongaro cycle bridge will open to the public in the first week of December.
The bridge was proposed in 2017.
Along with the continuation of the cycle path, it has a projected cost of $3.4 million, of which 50 per cent will be funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will fund $600,000 toward the project, and Whanganui District Council will provide the remainder.
The project was launched just before New Zealand went into Covid-19 lockdown in March.
This was to take advantage of weather and river conditions and to avoid leaving the bridge unsecured during the lockdown.
The Upokongaro Cycle Bridge was proposed in 2017, as a purpose-built cycle and pedestrian bridge from the small Whanganui River settlement of Upokongaro to Whanganui city continuing to the city's 50km/h limit on the Aramoho side of the river.
Whanganui district council chief executive Kym Fell said Emmetts Civil Construction was in the final stages of preparing documentation for the formal completion.
"We look forward to involving Upokongaro School, businesses and residents in plans for the formal opening of the bridge," he said.
Mayor Hamish McDouall said it had been a long process but was worth the wait.
"I always wanted it to be open before the summer holidays. Now it's just a matter of organising what shape the opening takes, because a lot of people are interested in the opening."
McDouall said Upokongaro was a lovely place and the bridge would only draw more locals and visitors through the town.
"It really is just a gorgeous little settlement," he said.
"A lot of cyclists will be heading down from Somme Parade as well as the expeditionary cyclists from the Mountain to Sea trail.
"The bridge will really open up a lot of traffic to the cafe and pub and anyone that wants to open a business there. It's pretty exciting."
A community meeting was held with the Upokongaro community on July 30 with about 60 to 70 members of the community in attendance. A number of subjects were raised, including the state highway, the bridge, public toilets and the nearby Upokongaro Hall.
Fell said the council had learnt a lot from the process, particularly the importance of working in a collaborative way with communities.
"It wasn't until we applied for a variation to our resource consent with Horizons Regional Council in 2018 that we realised the riverbed, over which the bridge is placed, is vested in Te Awa Tupua.
"In the end, we needed to take a step back and follow the correct process to get an easement from Te Pou Tupua, the legal face of Te Awa Tupua."
The council has engaged with local hapū Ngā Paerangi, Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui and the Upokongaro community in discussions about the bridge.
"I think it is important to confirm that no payment was made to either party to secure agreement for the easement. In fact, the hapū and Te Pou Tupua have been understanding of the situation while we worked to back-fill the easement situation," Fell said.
"People will be enjoying this asset all summer and beyond, and we thank the community for its patience."