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Bridging It

Bridging It

Bridging it: Cyclists, including Hastings District councillor Simon Nixon (right), on the new cycle lane on Friday.

A hi-tech link in the Hawke’s Bay cycle path chain was officially opened on Friday (October 9); this time a state-of-the-art cycle lane on the Clive River Bridge.

With decking made from recycled plastic bags and LED lights embedded in the handrails, the path is a worthy addition to the region’s cycleways that have been evolving over the last 15 years, said deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers at the opening.

Being able to negotiate bridges safely is a “tremendous step forward” for cyclists, she said.

A crowd of about 80 attended the opening at 10am, for a short round of speeches and then a walk over the bridge to refreshments in Farndon Park.

NZTA Napier Highways Manager Chuck Dowdell told the crowd he remembered walking the bridge as a child, and then rowing under it as a teen. He said the bridge had a long history, opening in the same year the Elvis Presley appeared for the first time on television, and Jacques Cousteau’s first marine wildlife programme aired.

That was in 1954. It was built to last at a height that would see it safe from the sort of floods that had inundated the area in 1897 and 1938. It was constructed to bear the weight of the era’s traction engines, which stood it in good stead to take today’s large trucks heading to Napier Port, he said.

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Laid end-to-end the piles would stretch 2.5 kilometres, it was made with 1100 cubic yards of concrete and 250 tonne of steel. “It is testament to the strength of the build in its day, that it remains in good order and we have been able to reconfigure it to keep cyclists safe.”

Associate Minister of Transport Craig Foss said Hawke’s Bay’s cycling culture had led the way in New Zealand in 2010 with its adoption of the i-Ways cycling programme, and continued to do so.

Using the roads is “not something other people do, it is something we all do; our mothers, fathers, children, grandparents – whether we’re in cars or cycling”.

“It requires respect for motorists by cyclists, and respect for cyclists by motorists. It is about sharing and respect.”

The $650,000 cycle path project was led by Hastings District Council and paid for by NZTA.


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