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Work to start on off-road Waimarama Rd cycle trail

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new section of off-road cycle trail is to be built on Waimārama Road between Te Mata Road and Craggy Range winery to improve safety for both cyclists and motorists.

This will replace a 3km on-road section of the trail which is part of the wider 200km Hawke’s Bay Trails network, and was identified by Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails as a safety concern, due it being an open-road, 80km/h speed limit area.

In response, Hastings District and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, along with Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails, and the Eastern Central Community Trust proposed to jointly fund a new off-road track to address the safety concerns.

Hastings District Council held hui with mana whenua, in recognition of their role as council’s statutory partners, and at a hui-ā-hapÅ« with Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in February 2020 the project was endorsed.

In addition, Heritage New Zealand archaeological approval was sought and given, and at times during the project an archaeologist will be onsite when work is being carried out on critical areas, accompanied by a cultural expert representing mana whenua as necessary.

Council has also worked with local landowners over the trail alignments and land requirements.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says the Hawke’s Bay Trails are a part of Aotearoa’s 22 Great Rides, an attraction for locals and visitors alike, and that this work would reinstate the Tukituki loop section of the Landscapes Ride, one of the most attractive trail rides in the region.

"We wanted to find a way to keep people safe when cycling these trails that take in some of the most magnificent landscape Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

"This section of trail has been problematic, used heavily by both motorists and cyclists and this solution will mean everyone is kept safe.

"Given this area is important both culturally and in archaeological terms we have been discussing the project with interested parties for several months now to ensure everyone is comfortable about the project."

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chair Rex Graham is in full support of linking this section of off-road trail to the current network.

"We have seen amazing growth in the number of people walking and cycling for recreation, tourism, health and just getting around on the Hawke’s Bay Trails in 2020. It has actually made us the busiest network in New Zealand. With increased numbers it means the safety of people using our trails is even more important,’ says Mr Graham.

Work on the project is due to start next week (January 20) weather permitting, and will be taking place off-road so no road closures are required, but there may be some traffic management required at times, which will be clearly signposted.

Under the current schedule, the work will take until early April to complete.

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