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Tauherenikau bridge in suspended animation

The finishing touches are imminent on one of New Zealand’s longest suspension bridges.

The 150-metre-long suspension bridge spanning the Tauherenikau River is set to open in September.

The bridge would connect Featherston and Greytown as part of the Five Towns Trail Network, a cycle link aiming to join the five Wairarapa towns.

Work on the trails and signage on either side of the river was underway, including boardwalks, a picnic area, and trails from car parks.

South Wairarapa District Council chief executive Harry Wilson said the bridge, when opened, would be an enormous asset to the district.

“It’ll pave the way for a wonderful recreational trail, and judging by the success of trails elsewhere, it will have long-term economic benefits for our region.

“Cyclists and walkers will be able to travel between Featherston and Greytown in a direct and scenic way while avoiding the state highway.

“We are thankful to government stimulus funding for enabling the project to progress so fast.”

Once completed, the trail would be about 200km and was expected to cost more than $30 million.

Early fundraising by the Greytown Trails Trust and construction funding were sought successfully from the government’s Infrastructure Reference Group.

The fund was created for shovel-ready infrastructure projects in response to covid-19.

Greytown Trails Trust project lead Shane Atkinson and trust chair John Bushnell said they were happy the bridge was nearing completion after more than five years.

They said, however, that it was important for people to keep clear of the active construction site until the official opening.

“Construction is taking place within the rail corridor, which is illegal to access without consent from KiwiRail,” Atkinson said.

The council was also working on improving safety conditions on Underhill Rd on both sides of the river.

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George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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