River track work needs extra $394k

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 09:00 07/12/2013

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Plans to bridge the gaps in the Manawatu Riverside walking and cycling track all the way from Maxwells Line to Ashhurst are going to cost more than budgeted.

The Palmerston North City Council's finance and performance committee will be asked on Monday to recommend a further $394,000 be allocated for the project.

Road planning team leader David Lane said construction work was on hold until the extra spending was approved.

So far, $717,000 has been spent on the pathway through the urban areas from Maxwells Line to Riverside Drive.

Another $70,000 is sought to resolve the bottleneck at the back of properties in Buick Cres.

A further $767,000 has been spent on the Riverside Drive to Ashhurst extension, which was $49,000 over budget.

The first stage, from the Ashhurst bridge to Raukawa Rd, was formally opened last weekend.

A further $324,000 above the budget of $1,347,00 will be needed to complete the next two stages, to Te Matai Rd, and by road reserve link to Riverside Drive.

The revised budget assumes the council can recoup $350,000 from the sale of a house on Te Matai Rd that was bought so a section could be subdivided off to secure access to the river.

Mr Lane said the short section from Dittmer Drive to Waitoetoe Park had yet to be brought up to the same standard as the rest of the city route.

It was narrow, creating conflicts for passing cyclists and pedestrians, and it was hard to see other users.

However, residents and some users were concerned that widening the path would encourage more people to use it, and for cyclists to go faster, creating even more conflicts.

And Mr Lane said the widening depended on resolving negotiations with neighbours, some of whom would have to have their fences moved back to their legal boundaries.

The committee's decision on whether to allow the extra spending will require full council approval.

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- Manawatu Standard

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