Wheels roll for Great Taste cycle trail
Recreational cyclists and holiday makers will get an early Christmas present this year when the final sections of the first stage of the Tasman Great Taste Trail are completed in the next two or three weeks.
The last big budget section of the first stage, the $250,000 suspension bridge over the Waimea River, was scheduled to be completed this week.
The 80-metre bridge only requires some safety netting on the sides and its compliance certificate before it can be used by cyclists.
Then all that is needed for cyclists to be able to ride off-road from Nelson and Richmond to Mapua is for contractors and volunteers to complete a 500m temporary trail on Lower Queen St, and a section of boardwalk behind Nelson Pine Industries.
Tasman District Council development engineer Dugald Ley said the temporary section that ran outside Ravensdown's plant was necessary because their resource consent stated they couldn't resume construction of the trail at Neiman Creek until the bird nesting season had finished on April 1.
Dugald said the council and the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust had decided not to seek a variation to the consent in order to finish the boardwalk, instead opting to construct a temporary section.
The section was well under way and would be completed before Christmas, to allow holiday makers to ride the trail all the way from Nelson to Mapua.
"We wanted to get things finished up for Christmas so that holiday-makers could bring their bikes when they come to Nelson," Dugald said.
"The cycle trust and all our contractors and volunteers are doing a great job so things have been progressing really quickly over the last few months.
"Ravensdown have been very good to us, allowing us to put a trail outside their plant. It's close to the road and will only be one lane, but we'll make sure it's well delineated, with marker posts to separate it from the traffic."
Dugald said Nelson Pine Industries had also been co-operative, providing an easement for the trail across land they owned on the foreshore of the Waimea Estuary. The section included a boardwalk which would be also finished in time for Christmas.
Signs were also going to be erected on Pigeon Valley Rd, to complete the initial loop through to Riwaka until the extended loop to Kohatu was completed. The Pigeon Valley section would remain in place as a connecting ride after the 173 kilometre trail was finished, he said.
Dugald said the flat-bottomed ferry service between Rabbit Island and Mapua had also been in full swing since September.
Ferry owner Andrew Schwass said the ferry sailed from Mapua every hour from 10am till 5pm weekdays and from 9am on weekends and public holidays, returning from Rabbit Island 10 minutes after the hour. They also hired bikes.
Extra weekday crossings for groups can be arranged, phone 027 473 2888.
Suspended: Tasman District Council engineer Dugald Ley at the new Tasman Great Taste Trail bridge over the Waimea River. Photo: SIMON BLOOMBERG
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