A dawn blessing has heralded the start of construction on the $11 million Grafton Gully Cycleway project which will allow cyclists to travel almost completely off road from Te Atatu to central Auckland.
The 1.9 kilometre long cycleway is jointly funded by NZTA, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, with representatives from each organisation attending this morning's ceremony.
The cycleway, due to be completed by mid 2014, will join the Northwestern cycleway at the north end of Ian McKinnon Dr, before crossing the Upper Queen St bridge, running along the southern and eastern edge of Symonds St Cemetery and then down through Grafton Gully.
It will end at Beach Rd and link with a planned cycle facility being developed by Auckland Transport.
Auckland Transport will also remove car parks along the western side of the Upper Queen St Bridge to make room for the three metre wide cycleway, and the intersection at the end of the bridge will be made more pedestrian and cycle friendly.
A five metre wide underpass is planned for Wellesley St East as well as fencing between the motorway and cycleway.
NZTA's spokesman Steve Mutton said the project would provide more transport choices for people and safer travel.
"The Northwestern cycleway is already popular with around 700 trips daily, and the improvements we're making will add to that popularity."
Mayor Len Brown welcomed the new addition to the city's growing cycling network.
"We want to connect our urban villages and make travelling within Auckland a pleasure rather than a chore, whether commuting to work, school or home, or for recreation."
Auckland Transport also plans to extend the Grafton Gully link with a shared cycle and walkway from Beach Rd in Parnell to the city's waterfront.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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