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Tasman Great Taste Trail

The newest part of the Tasman Great Taste Trail is 5.6 kms in length and winds its way from the Norris Gully recreation area southwards through to the Motueka River Bridge at Kohatu alongside State Highway 6.

The trail follows along the edge of Nelson Forest land and travels across the Norris Gully stream under the state highway before crossing a number of bridges, including one measuring 18 metres, under the cover of the forest.

Construction began in 2018 after government funding was approved following two years of planning and fundraising by the Tasman Cycle Trails Trust.

Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust trail manager Josh Aldridge says there are some very special and historically significant features on this part of the trail. “The majority of this section of trail follows the historic railway alignment between Nelson and Glenhope which operated for 79 years between 1876 and 1955. Construction of the cycle trail has preserved the historic culverts and bridge abutments.”

He says contractors Higgins have adopted the community spirit of the Great Taste Trail and been “efficient, adaptable and great to work with.”

During the construction the Higgins team on the project worked closely with land owners and the Cycle Trail Trust and the engineer/ council to find solutions around track location and positioning. Other challenges included changing out electric fencing around horse paddocks and dealing with the main upper south island Chorus fibre and feeds that run directly under parts of the cycleway. The Higgins team also had to ensure they did not adversely impact road-users while constructing the trail, kept staff safe at all times and cared for the streams and environment around the works areas.

Despite the complexities Higgins finished ahead of schedule to deliver a cycleway that the local community can be proud of. The productivities have been high due to strong planning and co-operation and ownership across the Higgins crews and sub-contractors. The local Higgins crew also came up with a way to produce a great result at a cost-saving to the community by using a paver laying machine to construct the entire path rather than the traditional truck and digger method of laying the aggregate.

This method uses less resources and fewer machines to complete the work, reducing wastage of aggregate and reducing emissions due to less transport cartage. The cycle ride is smoother and safer and lacks the usual texture and rutting normally found on loose laid cycle trails.