New off-road section of trail opening soon

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What a view . . . The newest off-road section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail takes cyclists from Aviemore Dam to Kurow. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A new section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, taking cyclists off-road from Aviemore Dam to Kurow, will be officially opened next month.

Cyclists of all abilities are invited to try out the new 14.5km section after an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at Waitaki Village on February 8.

The new Aviemore Dam to Kurow section was part of a larger project to take all of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail off State Highway 83 through the Waitaki Valley, Alps 2 Ocean project manager Hamish Seaton said.

Construction started between the Awakino River and Kurow in November 2017.

“The remaining trail has been built once sections of the [Kurow and Duntroon Irrigation Company’s] irrigation scheme were completed,” Mr Seaton said.

The project, which included the construction of three bridges, cost $720,000.

The trail was built by Waimate’s M3 Contracting and Brooks Properties Ltd, of Kurow, and the bridges were built by Recreation Construction, based in Oamaru.

Community support for the project had been significant, Mr Seaton said.

“Eight companies and organisations have generously granted access over their properties to enable the track to be built.”

The new section of trail has a “smooth gravel surface” and is classed as grade two (easy), suitable for all cyclists.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the benefits of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail to the district and its residents were “clear to see” and the new section would help enhance its reputation as one of New Zealand’s premier cycle trails.

“Our small communities along the trail are being rejuvenated and [the trail is] helping to bring new jobs and diversification to our economy,” Mr Kircher said.

“And where there are good sections of trail by townships, locals are using the trails almost as much [as], and in some cases more than, tourists.

“It all helps to make our Waitaki district even more wonderful.”