Their journeys have just become easier and safer thanks to the completion of the hugely-anticipated $12.9 million Te Hikoi Ararewa (Wainuiomata Hill Shared Path).
The new route, which runs from Gracefield to Wainuiomata, is part of a $28 million investment by Hutt City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) in a network of walking and cycling routes for the city.
The new 4m wide, off-road, sealed and separated pathway was designed to complement the Pukeatua Bridge at the peak of Wainuiomata Hill, completed in 2015. It provides pedestrians and cyclists safe access up and over the steep and winding Wainuiomata Hill Road.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said Te Hikoi Ararewa, meaning pathway to the horizon, completion is “a landmark occasion for our active transport projects in Lower Hutt.”
“The path has been 20 years in the making. Many of our dedicated staff and elected representatives have worked alongside NZTA to complete this wonderful asset for the community.
“The construction of the path has been amazing to watch and it has been great to see each completed section being used by the community.”
Wainuiomata Ward Councillor Campbell Barry said the pathway is an asset for not only Wainuiomata locals, but for the wider city.
“For a long time the Wainuiomata Hill has been viewed as a barrier for walking and cycling. With the completion of the shared path, it is now truly one of our city’s biggest assets.”
Wainuiomata Ward Councillor Josh Briggs said the community has been behind the concept of a shared pathway to address safety concerns for many years and “it’s fantastic to see it completed”.
“Every day I see people walking or cycling over the hill. Having the shared pathway will not only keep those people in our community who already walk and cycle the hill safe, it will encourage others to get out and be active.
“It provides a path to access to the many great mountain biking tracks we have in Wainuiomata, as well as a way for road cyclists to venture into our town without having to navigate the cars as well as the hill.
Cycling Steering Group Member, and Hutt City Councillor Lisa Bridson, said that the new path is a fantastic asset for cyclists in Lower Hutt.
“Te Hikoi Ararewa is one of three big projects aiming to improve cycling infrastructure in Lower Hutt. The wider community will benefit from reduced congestion, better environmental health, and of course, better personal health.”
Mayor Wallace officially opened Te Hikoi Ararewa over the weekend in two events – a formal opening ceremony and a community event, marking the completion of the project.
Te Hikoi Ararewa forms a part of the larger Lower Hutt walk and cycle network which will include ; The Beltway, The Eastern Bays Shared Path and the Hutt River Trail.
Funding for the project was split between Hutt City Council ($5.6million), the Government’s Urban Cycleway Fund ($1.5million) and NZTA ($5.8million).
For more images, check out our Facebook page.