Cycleway project given grant

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A coastal cycleway connecting Waikouaiti to Waitati is a step closer, thanks to a $28,750 grant.

The Coastal Communities Cycle Connection group applied to the Lottery Community Facilities Fund under the umbrella entity of the Dunedin Tracks Network Trust .

Trust chairman Lindsay Dey said it was delighted to receive funding for the first steps in this exciting project.

The trust would use the grant towards the costs of preparing a technical feasibility study to investigate options for constructing shared-use paths that link Dunedin, Waitati and Waikouaiti.

Mr Dey said at present there were no tracks other than on the road that linked up these areas.

‘‘As yet there is no confirmed acceptance of a plan to connect those activities. It is very much in the infancy stage.’’

The Coastal Communities Cycle Connection group was looking at creating a link between Waikouaiti and Waitati so the local community could commute in a safe way.

The cycleway was anticipated to run along the Coast Rd through Karitane before linking up to State Highway 1 to Waikouaiti.

Consultant Hamish Seaton who previously designed the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Old Ghost Rd and Paparoa Track would be conducting details design work.

The study would identify the most appropriate routes based on usability, cost, environmental impact, and stakeholder feedback.

But there could be options to consider, including potentially a bridge across Waikouaiti River.

‘‘Hamish will evaluate all the options that could be done to best achieve the goal of a safe cycleway,’’ Mr Dey said.

The proposed tracks would be suitable for cyclists, runners and walkers and ideally conform to New Zealand Cycle Trail grade 2 (easy) or grade 3 (intermediate) trail standards.

This would form the first step in a cycleway which is planned to link up from Oamaru to Dunedin. The potential for future tracks inland to Central Otago and northward to Oamaru will also be considered.

Facilitator Emily Cooper said the group had a vision of connecting the communities of Waikouaiti-Karitane and Warrington-Waitati with shared-use paths.

“The feedback that residents submitted showed overwhelming support for a safe, alternative travel option between our villages and to the city that avoids State Highway 1.

‘‘People want to be able to ride their bikes or walk to their local library, pub, school or club, or go further on a bit of an adventure,’’ Ms Cooper said.

The report is expected to be completed early next year.