Whakapaewaka Bridge over the State Highway 29 Takitimu Drive Toll Road opened this week after a blessing and official opening on Wednesday, 8 August.
The overbridge connects Bethlehem with biking and walking paths in Kopurererua Valley that link to Gate Pa, The Lakes and the city.
The nearest accesses to the bridge are Wylie Street and Cambridge Park, off Cambridge Road.
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.
The blessing ceremony was conducted by Ngai Tamarawaho kaumatua Tamati Tata. Mayor Greg Brownless and NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships (Central North Island), Parekawhia McLean, opened the bridge together.
Tauranga City Council, the Transport Agency and local hapu Ngai Tamarawaho all had input into the design of the bridge. The name Whakapaewaka comes from local mana whenua and refers to a trail used by Māori in the 19th Century. It also refers to safe travel and wellbeing.
The council and the transport agency will 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.