Invercargill to Bluff route now under review

BRITTANY PICKETT
Last updated 13:16 15/05/2014
trail
SUPPLIED/ Environment Canterbury
BRIDGE SITE: Environment Southland's Russell Hawkes and Robin Wilson and Wilson Contractors' Andy Carrington met at the site where one of the new bridges will be contructed.

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There is a "very substantial" funding challenge ahead over the construction of the walkway and cycle trail connecting Invercargill and Bluff, according to the project manager.

Construction has begun on the next section of the $450,000 walkway and cycle trail but the current route is not viable to keep the project within budget.

Environment Southland transport policy analyst and project manager Russell Hawkes said discussions were planned between the Invercargill City Council, Environment Southland and the NZ Transport Agency to re-evaluate the remainder of the project and look for alternative routes that cost less.

"The whole project is entirely dependent on funding," he said.

Funding for the project is a joint effort between Te Araroa Trails Trust, the Community Trust of Southland, the ILT Foundation, the ICC and Environment Southland.

Since construction began in 2010, sections of the project had been completed as funding became available.

But the proposed route has since been found likely to go over budget and a cheaper route had to be secured.

The problem would be resolved over the next few months because funding considerations would have to be submitted to the council's Long Term Plan, Hawkes said.

The trail currently linked the Waihopai Walkway with 1.7km of track from the Estuary Boardwalk to the sewerage treatment plant.

The new 6.5km section will connect the trail near the treatment plant to Kekeno Place at Awarua. Construction is due to be completed in November.

"The objective of the cycle trail is to provide a cycle experience for people between Invercargill and Bluff and in doing so to give them a chance to see our coastal marine area," Hawkes said.

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