The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust has managed to raise almost half of its $80,000 target to fund the construction of a ramp to ensure greater accessibility to the Lake Hawea swing bridge.
According to Upper Clutha Tracks Trust trustee John Wellington, a ramp would enable bikers to ride straight on to the bridge instead of having to take the two flights of steps, which he said is not ideal on a bike commuter route.
“It’s not practical for families with young children, it’s not very practical for people with mobility issues or those who can’t handle a heavy bike. It’s impossible for people in wheelchairs,” John said.
He went on to say that more and more people are using heavier e-bikes which created more practicality issues.
The cost of the ramp is $80,000 and so far the Trust has raised $23,000, but has applications for funding out for another $40,000. Assuming applications are successful, they will still be about $16,000 short. But John said he was confident that they will raise the money, and hopefully secure the remaining half of the funding by October with construction to begin by the end of the year.
The Lake Hawea swing bridge track was the very first project undertaken by the Trust, but due to budget constraints, it was not possible to build the ramp at that time although the Trust would have loved to. The idea for the track was to encourage people to connect Hawea and Wanaka so cyclists did not have to use State Highway 6.
Recently UCTT reviewed local tracks to see how accessibility could be improved and have since removed styles replacing them with cattle grids, to ensure they are bike, pram and wheelchair friendly.
If anyone wants to donate to the project, they can via the Trust's website.
Pictured: (top) View from the Hawea River swing bridge Photo: Nikki Heath.
Pictured: (below) Artist’s impressions of the proposed ramp at Lake Hawea swing bridge. Photo: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
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