Three new cycleways for Blenheim from government funding boost


Cycling in Blenheim is set to become safer, easier and more enjoyable following today’s announcement that the Government is accelerating three cycling projects as part of the Urban Cycleway Programme.

The NZ Transport Agency and Marlborough District Council are together welcoming the funding, which will enable construction on the cycleways to begin as soon as next year.

In Blenheim, the Urban Cycleways Fund will be investing in the Spring Creek, Taylor River Path and Eltham/Beaver Road Cycle Link projects, creating 7km worth of new cycle facilities. All cycling infrastructure will be complemented with cycling education and training.

The work will complement ongoing efforts Marlborough District Council, with assistance from Bike Walk Marlborough and Marlborough Roads, to develop a safe, convenient and integrated network to encourage more people to choose walking and cycling as an active and healthy way to get around. The programme will link residential areas with schools, the CBD, workplaces, wineries and other key destinations.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman says, “Council welcomes the Transport Agency and central government’s assistance with progressing a safer cycle and pedestrian network in Blenheim. 

“This funding speeds up the construction of these key urban cycle projects, which will enable further development of complimentary facilities.  These along with further cycle education and training, like our Ride-On cycle skills training programme in schools will help more people enjoy the many benefits cycling offers.”

Transport Agency Central Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says the projects will provide safer and better connected facilities to make it more appealing for people to cycle around Blenheim. 

“These projects will create real flow on benefits for the community. Not only will they keep people safe, but they will encourage healthy end enjoyable activity, and reduce the numbers of cars on the road.

“Cycling is a key priority for the agency. Getting more New Zealanders cycling will connect people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our transport network.”

The projects are:

Spring Creek

This 2.8km off-road shared path will extend the existing high-quality facility between Blenheim and Grovetown through to Spring Creek. This high-priority project for the Marlborough District will bring Spring Creek and its residents into the Blenheim cycling network and provide off-road access to the Spring Creek and Grovetown schools, both within 500m of the route. In addition, this project will also provide a path for people who would otherwise cycle on State Highway 1.

This facility will provide a safer route for students and others to cycle between Spring Creek and Blenheim, separated from the high-speed traffic along State Highway 1. It will help to encourage new people to cycle, many of whom lack the confidence or experience to cycle the existing state highway. The off-road path will encourage more Spring Creek residents to cycle to work and school. The route will also provide increased safety for recreational cyclists.

Construction is anticipated to begin in February 2016 and be completed by May 2016.

Taylor River Path

This 2.6km off-road cycle path will extend the existing popular route along the Taylor River further to the south, linking more residential areas in south Blenheim to the CBD. The existing section already caters for a considerable number of pedestrians and cyclists, many of whom are travelling to the colleges to the northwest of the town. This project will increase the catchment area for the path and offers a safer and more pleasant alternative to the road network.

It will provide a safer commuting option for over 1,700 students to cycle to school, and for commuters to cycle to work in the CBD. The attractive cycling route will improve the transport choice for residents in south Blenheim travelling to the CBD. The route is expected to attract over 400 people each day when complete.

Construction is anticipated to begin in February 2016 and be completed by May 2016.

Eltham/Beaver Road Cycle Link

This 1.5km route will consist of a 500m separated two-way cycle path on the eastern side of Eltham Road and traffic calming measures on Beaver Rd. This path will provide direct access to Whitney St School and nearby St Mary’s School and connect Eltham Rd to Taylor River Path, via Carr Street and Beaver Road.

It will offer a safer cycle route for the 500 students that attend Whitney St and St Mary’s Schools. It will also encourage more people to cycle to the Taylor River Reserve Path to reach the town centre and other destinations in the area. This route is expected to attract around 200 people each day.

Construction is anticipated to begin in mid-2017 and be completed by mid-2018.