$6.6m boost for city cycleways

More than $6 million in Government cycleways funding is heading for Dunedin and could be used to build a key harbourside bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges yesterday confirmed $3million from the Government's Urban Cycleway Fund, and $3.62million from the National Land Transport Fund had been approved for Dunedin.

The money was part of a wider $333million investment in 41 cycleway projects across New Zealand announced yesterday.

Dunedin's share was allocated to Central City and Northeast Valley cycleway improvements, but was yet to be allocated to specific projects.

Council infrastructure and networks general manager Ruth Stokes said the money would help improve links between the city's planned cycleway routes, including along State Highway 1 and SH88.

No decisions had yet been made on exactly how it would be spent, as councillors would need to consider the options.

However, infrastructure services committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson said a primary focus would be a new bridge linking the harbour and inner-city for cyclists and pedestrians.

It would also link future central-city and NEV cycling routes with those being developed on Otago Peninsula and alongside SH88 to Port Chalmers, she said.

''The bridge is a big part of that connectivity to each of those other networks.''

Without it, an increasing number of cyclists could be forced to tangle with heavy traffic using the city's eastern freight bypass, which also needed to be protected, she said.

''If we get a whole lot of bikes expecting to cross there, it is going to become a problem.

''We need to make sure we future-proof that crossing, and give freight the prominence it deserves in that area,'' she said.

The Government's contribution was on top of $2.6 million already in the council's budget for urban cycleways, meaning $9.22 million was available in total.

It was too soon to say exactly where any bridge might be built, or how much it might cost, but it was expected to be in the ''millions'', Cr Wilson said.

''I don't want to go for the lowest cost necessarily, but I don't want to over-design it either.''

It was possible the money could be used for an underpass instead, which had not been ''completely discounted'', or the council could negotiate to use the funds for a different cycleway project that promised better results, she said.

A report on the funding and options was expected to be considered by the infrastructure services committee at a later date.



Cycleway funding

$9.22m available, including:

$3m from Government's Urban Cycleway Fund (announced yesterday).

$3.62m from National Land Transport Fund (confirmed yesterday).

$2.6m in existing Dunedin City Council funding (in DCC budget).

• Funding for central city and Northeast Valley cycleway improvements.

• Harbourside bridge for pedestrians/cyclists a key focus; providing links to other networks.

• Project design details and timeline yet to be confirmed.



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