Waipā District Council has announced the opening date for the Waipā section of the Te Awa River Ride, after a blessing by Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and Ngāti Haua representatives on-site yesterday.
From Tuesday 1 March, visitors will be able to bike, walk or glide all the way from Lake Karāpiro to the Waipā district boundary, 4.5km north of the Grassroots Trust Velodrome.
The Waipā section is part of the larger Hamilton to Cambridge connection, which is being built concurrently across four district boundaries by Hamilton City, Waipā District and Waikato District councils, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Once completed, the completed Te Awa River Ride will traverse 60km from Ngāruawāhia to Lake Karāpiro, catering for people of all ages and abilities.
Waipā Mayor, Jim Mylchreest said the Te Awa Cycleway was a fantastic asset for the district and would be enjoyed by many.
“The new section is great way to get active and explore Waipā, with numerous spaces for picnics, a waterfall, areas of cultural interest, and areas to stop and enjoy views of the river. We know our community will just love the new pathway.”
“An estimated 300,000 people use the Te Awa River Ride yearly and more than 2,500 people use the track to the Velodrome on a weekly basis. We are expecting these numbers will only increase with the popularity of e-bikes and scooters,” said Mayor Mylchreest.
Construction was no easy feat, with 3km of 3m-wide concrete path, 1.4km of boardwalks, two bridges, drainage, culverts, landscaping and fencing involved.
A blessing has taken place with representatives from Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and Ngāti Haua, Mayor Jim Mylchreest and Waikato District Council Deputy Mayor Aksel Bech took place yesterday under Red COVID-19 Protection Framework setting guidelines.
Council contractors have been constructing the new cycleway, made up of boardwalks, bridges, culverts and concrete since February 2021.
The opening of the cycleway was delayed slightly due to Cyclone Dovi causing damage to railings on the track, but Council expected all repairs will be completed in time for the opening.
Council’s Group Manager – Service Delivery, Dawn Inglis, said after 12 months of construction and many challenges and setbacks due to COVID-19, the team were delighted to have the Waipā section opening.
“We have had a very high level of public interest throughout the project and residents are very eager to ride the cycleway,” she said.
“Although we can’t hold our usual community day event to celebrate the opening, we will be running a district-wide competition to encourage riders to get out and explore the new track.”
The competition involves track users sending a photo of their favourite part of the track through to Council to go in the draw to win the grand prize of a new bike valued up to $2,000, sponsored by Cambridge local bike specialists Spoken Cycles, or one of four bike safety packs valued at $450.
The competition is eligible for all Waipā residents and will run during the month of March, with the winners announced on Friday 1 April.
Photos can be taken from any location on the Te Awa cycleway from Lake Karāpiro through to the new Waipā section north of the velodrome.
The Te Awa River Ride from Hamilton to Cambridge was made possible by two major funding contributions of $2.95 million from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and a $2.84 million investment managed by the Provincial Development Unit, following the Council’s successful application to the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group for ‘Shovel Ready’ project funding.
For more information on Te Awa River Ride and the Ride & Win with Waipā competition, head to waipadc.govt.nz/teawabikepromo.