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The Pou Herenga Tai –Twin Coast Cycle Trail is on track for a grand opening by the end of this year.
A 13.5 km Kaikohe to Okaihau section of the 84 km trail was opened to public use in 2011.
Construction of a further 20 kilometres of the trail between Kaikohe and Kawakawa is expected to be completed by June.
This includes two 6 km sections between Kawakawa and Otiria and between the old Kaikohe Railway Station and the Kaikohe Airport which are already open to public use.
"Current indications are the whole Kaikohe to Kawakawa section will be fully constructed towards the middle of this year,” says Far North District Council infrastructure and asset manager David Penny.
“If all goes well, we could be looking to a grand opening by the end of the year."
Trail construction has started on the rail corridor between Otiria and Mangakahia Road.
However, this section will remain closed until all trail, bridge, bollard, cattle-stop, gates and fencing have been completed.
An 800m section between the Kaikohe Railway Station and Taheke Road is also still under construction.
A route for the Okaihau to Okaka Road section has now been confirmed in consultation with private landowners and work will begin soon.
Consultation with landowners about the route between Okaka Road and Horeke is ongoing.
The final challenge will be to complete the coast-to-coast route by linking the trail from Kawakawa to the Bay of Islands.
Council staff have been talking with the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust about making this section a separate steam train experience.
"At present, the steam train runs an 8km round trip from Kawakawa to Taumarere Railway Station with facilities to carry bikes.
The trust hopes to offer a live rail experience right through to Colenso's Triangle near Opua.
"The rail experience will be another point of difference for the Twin Coast Cycle project and will be an added marketing tool to encourage visitors to the Far North."
The council is grateful for the support and cooperation it has received from farmers and landowners during the construction phase.
“Without this level of understanding and cooperation, we would not have been able to advance work anywhere near as quickly.”
Discussions are ongoing with farmers and trail neighbours.
“We need these people in particular and the wider community on board if the Far North is to fully reap the economic potential this project offers."
The council also appreciates the contributions of Community Max workers who have built and maintained sections of the trail, carved poupou markers and propagated native shrubs to plant along the trail.
“These guys and girls have provided valuable input and must be thanked for their commitment and contribution to the whole project."
The council asks people not to use or graze stock on unfinished sections of the trail until work is completed.
“We would also remind folk using the sections which are already open to the public that dogs, horses and motorbikes are not permitted on the cycle trail at any time."