Cycleway funding confirmed

The next stage of the Otago Peninsula cycleway is closer to being built after the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) approved more than $2 million for the project.

Dunedin City Council transportation operations programme engineer Michael Harrison said NZTA funding for the Ohinetu Point to Harington Point section of the cycleway and road improvements was given final approval this month in what was a "big step forward" for the project.

"We have now ticked all the boxes and jumped across all the hurdles to get the funding confirmed."

NZTA initially allocated funding for the project in August, as part of its announcement the Otago transport system would receive $280 million of national funding in the next three financial years.

Mr Harrison said the initial allocation amounted to a "tentative" approval of the project and did not necessarily mean the funding would proceed.

The latest development meant the project was "all set" for construction to start next July, assuming it received resource consent.

NZTA would subsidise 66% of the $3.2 million project, and the Dunedin City Council would pay for the remaining $1.088 million.

The improvements were scheduled in the council's 2014-15 budget, but were brought forward to the 2013-14 year - subject to the subsidy being obtained - during the annual planning process earlier this year. A total of 86 submissions, one including 200 signatures, was received.

The design phase for the layout of the walkway and cycleway elements of the project is to be revisited in consultation with the community.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman John Bellamy said the development was great news for the peninsula and the city.

Council roading project engineer Evan Matheson said the next step was to consult "key stakeholders" in the community about the design of the road improvements.

The consultation period was expected to start at the end of this month and finish before Christmas.

After considering the feedback, the council would apply for resource consent, which would most likely be publicly notified with the Otago Regional Council at the beginning of next year, Mr Matheson said.

The council had learned from the construction of previous sections of the cycleway and would probably put in wider cycle lanes and a few more bus stops.

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