Cycleway on track to open ‘in next two to three months’

Stage 1 . . . Grass is dug out in Pleasant Point in preparation for the new cycleway. PHOTOS: BRYAN BLANCHARD

by Helen Holt

The Timaru-Pleasant Point Cycleway is due to open this spring.

Central South Island Cycle Trails chairman Frazer Munro said the bulk of the track would be finished in a month’s time.

“The track has just been metalled. We just need to finish the bridges and lay the shingle, so it should be opened in the next two to three months.”

Awaiting the top layer . . . The Timaru-Pleasant Point Cycleway was recently surfaced.

The trail was instigated by Central South Island Cycle Trails Inc to benefit the local economy and connect communities.

“As a group, we are dedicated, keen people who want to help connect the communities,” Mr Munro said.

“We believe it is important for the district to have a cycleway. It gives them a way to travel through the landscape, and a safe path to use.

“We also looked at the economic benefits. The trail will encourage people to come to those smaller communities and go to the cafes for a coffee or lunch.

“We were inspired by the Otago Central Rail Trail. There are little townships that wouldn’t exist in the way that they do, and there’s additional services driven by the usage of the trail.

Digging it . . . A grader digs up the grass around the former Waitawa railway siding area for the new cycleway.

“They’ve seen more people go out and visit the towns compared to before.”

The cycleway was designed to be used by walkers, runners, people with children in push chairs and those in wheelchairs, in addition to cyclists.

“It is quite a versatile track. It will be used by commuters who bike to work, or a people wanting to go out for lunch or a coffee. It appeals to a range of users.”