A ceremony has been held to officially mark the start of construction on He Ara Kotahi, a new 7.6km shared path for cyclists and pedestrians through Palmerston North and over the Manawatū River.
Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith says, once complete, the project will improve the city’s connectivity by helping to join up Linton Military Camp, Massey University, Ag Research, Fitzherbert Science Centres and FoodHQ with the urban transport network.
“He Ara Kotahi will be a real asset for our city and it continues the strong commitment and investment Palmerston North has made in new cycling and walking facilities,” Mr Smith says.
“The name of the pathway He Ara Kotahi means ‘a pathway that brings people together’ and this will be achieved as we make our city even more accessible for residents, students, tourists and soldiers.
“We also want to thank Transport Minister Phil Twyford for joining us today and marking this important step by turning the first sod.”
He Ara Kotahi’s most visible feature will be a 195m long and 4.2m wide bridge. It will have a 10m wide viewing platform mid-span and be designed to replicate a karaka tree that has fallen across the river. It will be positioned near Dittmer Drive opposite Ruha Street.
NZTA’s Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says He Ara Kotahi is a good example of central government partnering with local government to accelerate delivery of key cycle and walking projects around New Zealand.
“The programme demonstrates a commitment to making urban cycling and walking a safer and more attractive transport choice,” Ms Speight says.
“It will reduce congestion by helping to get commuters out of their cars and it will improve safety by providing a separate path for walkers and cyclists away from the state highway network.
NZTA will fund $3 million of the $14.6 million cost of the project through the Urban Cycleways Programme. The remainder of the cost will be split between the National Land Transport Fund, administered by NZTA, and the Palmerston North City Council. Powerco is also contributing $500,000.
The project is scheduled for completion in April 2019.
Concrete Structures (NZ) Ltd of Rotorua was awarded the contract for construction of the bridge. Other construction work is being held around the northern side of the pathway by Horizons and Powerco in the early stages of the construction phase. Further stages of the project are being tendered for.