Locals and keen riders from further afield came in numbers this morning to be the first to experience the completed Section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive Shared Path.
Today marked the completion of the longest of the four sections stretching 2.65 kilometres from St Johns Road to Ōrākei Basin. It closes the gap between two already open sections of pathway, giving people on foot and wheels a true sense of what the finished path, aptly named ‘Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai’ (the path of land and sea) will deliver.
Construction of the final section between Ōrākei Basin and Tāmaki Drive is underway. When complete, the full 7km long path, which has been under construction since 2015, will weave all the way from Merton Road in Glen Innes right through to Tamaki Drive in central Auckland.
Mark Kinvig, Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery, said there was a real sense of excitement from everyone who took to the path today.
“This path ticks all the boxes, and it was great to see so many Aucklanders enjoying it this morning. Like the North-western cycleway, when complete, this route will offer people real choices about how they get around, including between work and home as well as to places of education along the route.
“This is an amazing piece of infrastructure, with highlights including a bridge that spans the eastern rail line, and a raised boardwalk that stretches 700 metres through the pristine Pourewa Valley.
“This path demonstrates our commitment to expanding Auckland’s walking and cycling network with the added bonus of some of the city’s most spectacular views for path users,” said Mr Kinvig.
In welcoming the completion of Section 2 of the shared path, Mayor Phil Goff said it would become one of the most popular walk and cycleways in Auckland.
“The quality of the pathway is fantastic, with great views of Auckland,” he said.
“It will be used for commuting, for kids getting to school and will be hugely popular recreationally. It’s a key part of the wider network Auckland needs to make cycling and walking a choice for transport by more and more Aucklanders, which will reduce traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions and improve health and wellbeing,” said Mayor Goff.
Orakei Ward Councillor Desley Simpson said, “Today is one of the highlights of my political career. Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai’ is one of the top three projects advocated for, by our community for over eight years. I want to thank our local communities and residents for their perseverance and advocacy, as well as their patience during construction. To the large team involved in delivering the project, especially this difficult Section 2, during challenging Covid times, thank you!” said Councillor Simpson.
Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport are working in partnership with Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei to design and build the path together and continue to work closely with the Ōrākei Local Board and many other local groups.
Harriet Glen, Programme Director Cycling at Auckland Transport says, “We’re really proud to see Auckland’s walking and cycling network growing. It’s vital that we continue to deliver safe, active connections like these alongside our public transport projects to give people more options when they travel.
“The natural beauty and magnificent views along the route will appeal to everyone – whether they are commuting or using the path for fitness and recreation. I strongly encourage people from across the city to enjoy it with their friends and whanau.”
Built through an ecologically sensitive and valuable area, there has been great care taken to reduce the impact of construction and design the path to complement its environment. There has been extensive planting and vegetation restoration with nearly 35,000 native plants being planted across the route, 13,000 of which were sourced by the local Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei iwi nursery.
Waka Kotahi is grateful to the community groups involved in restoration and enhancement of Pourewa Valley and the Ōrākei Local Board for support with pest plant and weed eradication.
Local connections have been built along the route by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport including a local link at John Rymer Place which includes a shared path and a raised boardwalk into Pourewa Valley. Other local connections have been constructed at Harapaki Road, Tahapa Crescent, Mamaku Street and through Tahapa Reserve West.