Cyclists and pedestrians will soon be able to make their way from West End to New World without having to take their life in their hands on State Highway 1.
Thanks to a collaborative funding effort from the Kaikoura District Council and the NZ Transport Agency, a new boardwalk is being created to allow walkers and cyclists to take in beach and mountain views, avoiding the highway altogether.
The stretch of boardwalk is half complete, thanks to the hard work of the Kaikoura Lions Club, who have so far put in considerable work for four Saturdays.
With another four working bees to go, project co-ordinator Rusty Arthur said the project was progressing well, and would add real value to Kaikoura's clean green image.
The importance placed on cycling could not be ignored, he said.
He hoped with the continuation of other tracks around the district, cyclists would soon see Kaikoura as a bike-friendly destination, which would in turn attract more tourists and benefit the whole town.
The track leaves the Whale Watch car park area and follows the line of the beach, so walkers will enjoy uninterrupted views of the sea and mountain ranges.
The flat surface will make walking on the beach accessible to all, including wheelchair users.
The path will continue along the beach as far as the Kaikoura Helicopters area, then join a shingle pathway behind the landing pad.
The rest of the path will be a mix of shingle and boardwalk until the Harakeke shopping mall.
The project manager from the council, Matt Hoggard, said a railway crossing is required, which is why the path will continue as far as the shopping mall.
If the crossing had been put in at Hawthorne Rd, because the railway at that point is a double track, warning bells and lights would have been required.
By putting the crossing further up, where the railway was single track only, this issue is avoided.
The boardwalk is part of Kaikoura's walking and cycling strategy, to which the council has been committed since its inception in 2009.
It was necessary to have a strategy in place before funding could be sought from NZTA. However, shortly after the strategy was developed, NZTA restricted funding for walking and cycling to areas where traffic congestion existed, and Kaikoura no longer qualified.
Council asset manager Gallo Saidy has worked with the relevant agencies to ensure funding for this project, and council has also received NZTA funding for minor safety improvements as opposed to walking and cycling.
Projects given financial assistance to date include the walking and cycling link from Scarborough St to South Bay Racecourse, additional road widening along Scarborough St and the project from Whale Watch.
- © Fairfax NZ News