City to Bluff track hoped for year-end

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THE Invercargill City Council (ICC) hopes to complete work on the Invercargill-Bluff walking and cycling track by the end of the year.

The joint project, between ICC and Environment Southland, started in 2010, but a series of delays has resulted in the completion of only the first section of the cycleway from the Stead St Wharf to Awarua – about a third of the total length.

The project received NZ Transport Agency funding support in the 2018-2021 National Land Transport Funding round to complete the last leg of the work.

However, the work to complete the final 17.5km into Bluff has dragged on since.

A report received by councillors early this month highlights the project continues to be behind schedule.

It states ICC has been working with the contractor to address the delays with some progress made with up to three crews working on the project at any one time.

ICC roading manager Russell Pearson told the Southland Express the community had wanted the cycleway for many years.

An earlier completion date had been expected but a delay with the archaeological requirements of the project meant the project started later, he said.

“The current project is from Colyer Rd to Bluff township, which is approximately 17.5km.

“The base material is almost complete with the final resurfacing still being worked on.”

The contract value for the work was about $827,000, excluding project management costs and Mr Pearson said no significant additional costs had been incurred due to the delays.

He anticipated the work would be completed by November.

Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said the delays had been frustrating.

“It has taken quite some time. The Bluff community has been raising the issue… could be about 10 years, maybe it was raised even before.

“We’re finally seeing the end, which is good but it is still frustrating because it is taking quite some time.”

The biggest concern the community had was safety, as part of the trail was on or beside State Hwy 1.

He believed once the project was completed, it would give people more confidence and motivate people to use the cycleway.

The track will form part of Te Araroa trail, a 3000km walking track spanning all of New Zealand.

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