A bridge spanning over State Highway 29 and Takitimu Drive will soon open to the public, following a blessing and official opening.
Whakapaiwaka Bridge will open tomorrow, connecting Bethlehem and Cambridge Road with the Kopurererua Valley biking and walking paths that link to Gate Pa and the city.
The blessing and official opening will begin at 8am.
Anyone who wishes to walk or ride a bike to the site is welcome to attend the ceremony. The nearest access points are from Wylie Street and Cambridge Park.
A second, smaller, bridge has been built over the Kopurererua Stream near Wylie Street.
The two bridges and new pathway are a $3 million Urban Cycleways Programme project jointly funded by Government, the NZ Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council.
Tauranga City Council, the Transport Agency and local hapu Ngai Tamarawaho all had input into the design of the bridge.
“I would like to acknowledge Ngai Tamarawaho’s suggestion to name the bridge Whakapaiwaka, which has historical significance to them as mana whenua,” says the transport agency’s director of regional relationships Parekawhia McLean.
Parekawhia says the council and the transport agency would soon begin construction on another new overbridge linking The Lakes residential area to Tauriko Estate and The Crossing over State Highway 36, providing further connections in the urban cycling network.
“The bridges are examples of the innovative cycling programmes and projects that the Transport Agency is working on with its partners.
“The aim of the cycling programme is to provide a safer and more connected cycle network for people of Tauranga, leading to improved transport choices.”
Tauranga City Council's transportation manager Martin Parkes says Whakapaiwaka Bridge is an important addition to Tauranga’s transport network.
“It’s a stunning bridge in a significant area. It creates a new connection between parts of the city that were previously disconnected.”