The design of a new $6.5 million cycle/walkway bridge across the Wairoa River is poised to become a major drawcard for the region's tourism once complete in 2018.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council announced the design for the ‘iconic' bridge – a key part of the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycle Trail project – at a special gathering in Council Chambers this evening.
Designed by architect firm Warren and Mahoney, the design features a curved, single span bridge with no piles in the water and a “spectacular” arch about 40 metres high at mid-point.
Council's Deputy CEO and Infrastructure Manager, Gary Allis, says the idea for an ‘iconic' bridge across the Wairoa River came in the initial development of the Omokoroa to Tauranga Cycle Trail, says Gary.
The project came to life when Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust came on board with a $1m grant.
Gary says concepts from four companies were invited for the design competition – the winning design chosen from a panel of judges made up of key project partners and Tangata Whenua.
“We knew an iconic structure would attract more than just cyclists – our vision is to have a bridge that becomes a tourist attraction, contributing to the region's amenities and economic development.
“We were looking for a unique creation, something that could be enjoyed by current and future generations. We're confident this bridge will do just that.”
The bridge has an estimated cost of about $6.5m. Construction is expected to begin in July 2017 and last about 12 months.
Minister for Transport Simon Bridges spoke via video link at this evening's presentation and says the bridge will have huge benefits for the region's tourism and for the health and lifestyle of residents.
“I'm incredibly excited about this stunning design for the Wairoa Bridge.
“It's going to be an a real drawcard in relation to overall an amazing cycle trail from Omokoroa to Tauranga for locals, commuters and tourists both throughout New Zealand and around the world.
“I'm incredibly proud to be one of the local members of parliament involved in this and to be the Minister of Transport that's helped to get the Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway underway – one of the most significant in New Zealand outside of the main centres.”
TECT Chairman Bill Holland says the Board wanted to see something special – and that's what has been delivered.
“The words ‘iconic' and ‘wow' have all been used – personally I was wowed and stunned at this project.
“When you get people collaborating together as has happened here you're going to finish up with something pretty special.”
Lou Gates, of Ngati Kahu, says this design was the only concept without any feet in the water.
“That was huge for us as Tangata Whenua. We are so happy with it. The arch is almost representative of our famous mountain Mauao.”