Cycle trail work progresses steadily

Construction of two cycle trails between Alexandra and Lawrence is progressing steadily, with more money uplifted from funders and hopes to have some sections open to the public early next year.

With a budget of $3.4 million, $2 million of which came from the Government, construction of the 34km Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail between Alexandra and the Roxburgh dam started just over a year ago.

Recently, with government funds running low, Central Lakes Trust and the Otago Community Trust granted a total of $670,000.

Trail trust chairman Stephen Jeffery said that was not because there was a time limit on the government funds, but because they decided to use that money before approaching other funders.

The project was also costing more than expected.

He said contractors were within their tender budgets but the entire project was not running to budget because of costly realignment issues at the Alexandra end of the trail. The contractor was due back there in about a week and it was hoped that section, about 10km, would be complete by April.

A 12km section at the Roxburgh end was almost finished. Only grading, gravelling and signage had to be completed before it could be open to locals, although that was not expected to happen until early next year, he said.

Once the trails were complete, jetties would be built in the Roxburgh Gorge so cyclists and walkers could catch a boat between the two sections of the trail, as the trust still did not have permission from the Miller family to build the centre section. Construction of the 73km Clutha Gold Cycle Trail from the Roxburgh dam to Lawrence, on the opposite side of the river to the Roxburgh Gorge trail, began at the start of this year.

Trail trust chairman Rod Peirce said most of the trail was under construction and was within the $5.5 million budget, $3.8 million of which came from the Government.

The 13km section from the dam to Pinders Pond was complete except for a bridge over the Teviot River, and it was hoped that could open in the new year.

Construction from the Lawrence end was now about 2km short of Beaumont and construction on another section, from Millers Flat to the Talleburn River, was due to start soon.

Both chairmen said they had hoped the trails would be further along by now.

Mr Jeffery said there were ''things thrown at us that slowed us down ... things beyond our control''.

Mr Peirce said the Clutha Gold trail was also held up by small things but he was ''extremely pleased'' with how it was looking.

It was hoped the trail would be completed and open by next April, although ''with an [almost] 80km-long trail, it's hard to be definitive''.

Mr Jeffery said the Roxburgh Gorge trail trust would be ''trying to hurry things along'' now.

The trails are two of the 18 ''Great Rides'' in the Government's New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

sarah.marquet@odt.co.nz

cycle trail

Have they removed  the digger that fell into this section of the river yet or is it all too hard?