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Major funding boost for Palmerston North Shared Pathways

Thursday June 25 2015

John Key on bike

The Linton Shared Pathway and Manawatu River bridge project will receive $6.2m, and the Mangaone Stream Shared Pathway will receive $400,000 to complete two underpasses.

The funding announcement comes following the completion of the Longburn Shared Pathway on time and within budget. The Longburn Shared Pathway will be officially opened on Thursday next week. It is the first of 13 cycleways being built around New Zealand to be completed, costing $37 million, including $31 million of Central Government funding.

The latest funding round is Central Government's second tranche of funding for cycleways and comes as the NZ Transport Agency lifts cycleways to its Top Six priorities in its overarching strategy.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and Central Government, in general, should be congratulated for their foresight in working with Palmerston North City Council on these projects.

"I'm heartened that Central Government has recognised the importance of providing a safe, healthy transportation option for our armed forces personnel, students, the education and food innovation sectors of our city."

The Linton Shared Pathway will connect Linton Military Camp and the Massey University and FoodHQ campuses to the city via a bridge has received $3million from the Urban Cycle Fund and an indicative $3.2million from the National Land Transport Fund.

The project is expected to cost at least $9.6m and take up to three years to complete. The $6.2million from the NZ Transport Agency and Central Government, alongside up to $500,000 from Powerco means ratepayer's contribution to the project will be in the vicinity of $3,400,000.

Investigation of the path route will be completed during 2015/16. The site of the new bridge will be determined once an engineering study and community consultation has been completed. A preliminary study completed in 2014 suggested three possible site locations. Path connections from the bridge linking to Massey University and Linton Military Camp will be completed as part of the project.

Paddy Clifford, Chief Executive of Palmerston North City Council says Powerco's commitment is on the condition the new bridge will allow for a second river crossing for the electricity network - thereby helping to safeguard the city from power outages.

The second project relates to the Mangaone Stream Shared Pathway and will see the construction of an underpass at the Mangaone Stream bridges on Botanical Road and Highbury Avenue.

The $600,000 project has received $200,000 from the Urban Cycle Fund and an indicative $200,000 from the National Land Transport Fund meaning ratepayers' contribution is likely to be $200,000.

Mr Clifford says the project will provide a seamless path, without road crossings, that will hopefully encourage more people to use the pathway. Work on the two underpasses is likely to commence in the 2016/2017 financial year.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Director, Raewyn Bleakley says both projects will significantly improve transportation options and safety.

"Cycling is a key priority for the agency. Getting more New Zealanders cycling will connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network."

"Once completed, these cycleways will make it easier and safer for people to make the choice to cycle. Projects like these create real flow-on benefits to the community, from fewer cars on the road during rush hour through to improved safety, better health, and sheer enjoyment."

Mayor Grant Smith says recently; PNCC signed a Letter of Intent with the Defence Force, Massey University, Horizons Regional Council and Rangitāne.

"All the parties should feel proud of their achievements, from Council's Roading Team to all our stakeholders. I am looking forward to the first sod being turned - it will be a great day."

The Urban Cycleways Programme is designed to take full advantage of all available funding sources, including the National Land Transport Fund and local government, to enable high-quality projects to get underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case.

The NZ Transport Agency anticipates the total investment in cycling in New Zealand over the next three years will be around $380 million to $400 million, delivering more than 250km of new urban cycleways and greater network connectivity.

To find out more about the Urban Cycleways Programme you can visit the NZ Transport Agency website www.nzta.govt.nz/UCP