Whakapaiwaka Bridge over the State Highway 29 Takitimu Drive Toll Road will open to the public on Wednesday, 8 August 2018, following a blessing and official opening.
The new overbridge connects Bethlehem and Cambridge Road with the Kopurererua Valley biking and walking paths that link to Gate Pa and the city.
The blessing and official opening will begin at 8am on Wednesday morning. Anyone who wishes to walk or ride a bike to the site is welcome to attend the ceremony. The nearest access points are from Wylie Street and Cambridge Park.
A second, smaller bridge has been built over the Kopurererua Stream near Wylie Street. The two bridges and new pathway are a $3 million Urban Cycleways Programme project jointly funded by Government, the NZ Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council.
Tauranga City Council, the Transport Agency and local hapu Ngai Tamarawaho all had input into the design of the bridge.
The transport agency’s Director of Regional Relationships (Central North Island), Parekawhia McLean, said “I would like to acknowledge Ngai Tamarawaho’s suggestion to name the bridge Whakapaiwaka, which has historical significance to them as mana whenua.”
Parekawhia said the council and the transport agency would soon begin construction on another new overbridge linking The Lakes residential area to Tauriko Estate and The Crossing over State Highway 36, providing further connections in the urban cycling network.
“The bridges are examples of the innovative cycling programmes and projects that the Transport Agency is working on with its partners. The aim of the cycling programme is to provide a safer and more connected cycle network for people of Tauranga, leading to improved transport choices.”
Tauranga City Council's Transportation Manager, Martin Parkes, said Whakapaiwaka Bridge is an important addition to Tauranga’s transport network. “It’s a stunning bridge in a significant area. It creates a new connection between parts of the city that were previously disconnected.”
The Eco Counter worldwide cycling index 2018 shows that Tauranga is one of the top five cities in the world where bicycle use is growing the fastest.
Whakapaiwaka Bridge features wooden panelling representing Kopurererua Stream eels.