A very cold Nick Smith was quick to swap out the red helmets provided for a pair of blue helmets as he rode along the Maitai Walkway this morning on a tandem bike with councillor Eric Davy.
The ride was in celebration of an announcement made yesterday that $3 million in funding will be provided to Nelson as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways programme in order to upgrade the Nelson Coastal Route.
The bridge over saltwater creek between the end of the Maitai Walkway and QEII Dr is the first to receive work as part of the council’s list of planned upgrades.
Chair of the regional transport committee, councillor Eric Davey, says work on replacing the bridge will begin almost immediately.
“At the moment it’s not suitable for a shared cycleway. Initially the council couldn’t afford to replace the bridge,” he says.
He says the council is committed to finishing what it starts and will complete the upgrade to the Nelson Coastal Route in sequential stages starting at the bridge.
The existing bridge will be relocated with undisclosed plans already being put in place by council.
MP Nick Smith says the upgrades will allow walkers and cyclists to travel to Tasman over a flat land path.
“Flat land attracts more commuter cyclists so this is different to building more mountain bike trails.”
He says the funding will benefit the city by providing a huge boost to cementing Nelson’s reputation as one of the best regions for cycling.
The $3 million was allocated as part of the $100 million national Urban Cycleways Fund announced during the election last year.