$2m cycleway shortfall

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2014
alps 2 ocean
ON THE ROAD: Cyclists enjoy stage two of the Alps 2 Ocean trail between Lake Ohau and Omarama.

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It could cost another $2 million to make the popular Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail a largely safe "off road" journey for bikers, but no extra funding has been secured yet.

A20 Charitable Trust spokeswoman Adair Craik said the trust had made several applications since it was established in September, but so far it had not been guaranteed any extra funding.

"We're holding tight. Hopefully there could be some good news within the next couple of months," she said.

"There are a number of promising leads. It's just a matter of waiting."

It was estimated it could cost up to an extra $2m to take the majority of the 312km Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru trail off-road. The Government has already pledged $2.75m towards the trail.

Ms Craik said the State Highway 83 section caused the most problems, and the trust wanted an alternative, more enjoyable route along this part of the trail.

Her comments come after the Mackenzie District Council expressed concerns about the safety of certain on-road sections of the trail, due to the high presence of heavy vehicle traffic at Hayman Rd (16km) and Mt Cook Station Rd (22km).

The council had received several complaints from cyclists about the speed of earthmoving trucks, flicking gravel and spreading dust. There had also been reports of near-misses by truck drivers, taking evasive action to swerve away from cyclists travelling two abreast.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said the full trail from Mt Cook to Oamaru was rideable and signposted.

"However, the trail will be a work in progress for a number of years as alternate off-road and side trails are developed and constructed," he said.

"We have spoken with the trucking companies and are working with them to ensure their drivers are aware there will be cyclists on the road, and are currently reviewing the signage along that stretch of road to make sure there is ample cautionary advice to all users."

Mr Gaskill said about 40 per cent of the trail was already off-road, while latest estimates suggested about 6000 people rode at least part of the trail between September 2013 and last month.

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- The Timaru Herald

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