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Shared path construction project keeps in step with local pony club - NZTA

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Construction is ramping up on Section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path, with the project team working closely with a local pony club to ensure good outcomes for the club during construction of the pathway.

Section 2 of the shared walking and cycling path provides a connection between St Johns Road and Ōrākei Basin, and links Sections 1 and 3 which are already completed. The seven kilometre path is being delivered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport, with Waka Kotahi the lead agency on Section 2.

The eastern end of Section 2 starts on land at the intersection of St Heliers Bay Road and St Johns Road, which is also home of the Meadowbank Pony Club.

"The challenge for the project team was to get on with their work without literally scaring the horses and disrupting the club’s activities," says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.

The pony club describes itself as "an oasis of rural equestrian calm in the middle of suburban bustle." It’s spread across 40 hectares of parkland rented from local authorities with 18 paddocks, 24 yards and two stables. The club has two dressage arenas, a show-jumping arena and a cross-country course consisting of 25 jumps.

The project plan calls for construction of a 700 metre temporary access road on the shared path alignment within the pony club grounds. The temporary road will provide access for construction of a boardwalk through the bush to Tahapa Reserve East. The team will work backwards from there, building the concrete shared path out to St Johns Road.

"The temporary access road will be asphalted so it reduces dust and is quieter for residents and the horses. We want the horses to stay happy, calm and safe. We’ve also installed 450 metres of deer fencing to keep them out of the construction zone."

To get started, the project had to solve an issue where the road entrance to the pony club and the start of the shared path were effectively in the same place.

"The original plan was to stop pony club access to the driveway for two months, but after negotiating the use of a second access road for club members, we managed to get in and build their new driveway in just two weeks," says Andrew Thackwray.

Meadowbank Pony Club President Samantha Fowler says the club was nervous about potential disruption, but the contractors CLL Service and Solutions Ltd have been great to work with.

"They have quickly grasped horse care and are extremely conscious around gate security and the safety of our members and horses, which is fantastic."

"It seems to us that they are moving at an extremely fast rate and to date the impact has been always less than what we expected, or for a shorter time."

Riding For The Disabled has also been able to operate at the club during construction. The project team and club officials worked together to manage the parking and access safely so riders could get to the horse preparation or tacking area.

The construction team and club use a WhatsApp group to share information and concerns.

"When we wanted to remove vegetation, we let the club know and they moved the horses away to a quieter grazing area. That helps us ensure everyone stays safe," says Andrew Thackwray.

Section 2 of the shared path will be about three kilometres long, with concrete paths, raised boardwalks and two bridges as it passes through rugged areas of native bush and over a rail line. The project is split into two areas, driven by specific access constraints for each. Construction is expected to be completed in mid 2022.

Auckland Transport is leading construction of Section 4 Ōrākei Basin to Tāmaki Drive, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive Shared Path - also known as Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai (the path of land and sea) - is expected to become one of the city’s most scenic bike routes. It will provide better connections for people walking, running and cycling and link to public transport. It will be popular with commuters and those using the path for fitness and recreation.

For more on the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive shared path, see https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/glen-innes-to-tamaki-drive-shared-path/

Caption: The pony club’s new driveway at St Johns Road taking shape with a lasting reminder from the Meadowbank Pony Club embedded in the concrete

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