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The bridge to Brightwater is open for business, and Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail should be completed to both Wakefield, and round the Waimea Estuary to Mapua, by Christmas.
Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust, which builds the track under contract to the Tasman District Council, has just awarded the contract for an 80 metre swing bridge over the Appleby River – a twin for the Brightwater bridge over the Wairoa. Project manager Stuart Hughes says contractors and volunteers are working on paths and boardwalks around the Estuary, connecting with the trail crossing Rabbit Island to the cycle ferry.
On Sunday 8 July 2012, more than 200 cyclists attended the opening of the $270,000 Brightwater bridge. Mayor Richard Kempthorne told the gathering that the cycle trail had strong local support, resulting in the Council’s decision to return the $4.2 million project to the long-term plan.
Work is under way on the Higgins Road path to Wakefield. Cyclists will eventually ride through the old Spooners rail tunnel to reach Kohatu and Tapawera, then travel up the Motueka Valley to Riwaka. Richard says a Kohatu landowner recently gifted land for the trail.
On the Estuary leg, the new Waimea bridge should be open by November 2012, says Stuart. Heading for Motueka, several off-road sections of track are already in place. A bridge across the Riwaka River is being designed, completing the side link to the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park.
The 175km Great Taste Trail is one of 18 ‘Great Ride’ cycle trails which will all be linked by routes down quiet country roads, forming the national cycleway.
Tasman District Council will ultimately own the local trail, which is tipped to become a valuable tourism asset for the region. It has already spawned a number of new businesses set up to service those using the Trail.
For more information about Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail, visit the Council website, and search under Recreation, www.tasman.govt.nz. The Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust has an active page on Facebook.