Work will begin on the upgrading of the Kōhī Point-to-Ōtarawairere section of the Ngā Tapuwae o Toi Walkway at the beginning of next week.
The upgrade is part of ongoing improvements to the walkway, which are designed to make the track more resilient to weather damage and make stairway sections safer and easier to negotiate.
Whakatāne District Council Community Services General Manager Mike Naude says the walkway is arguably the most scenic and varied urban walkway in the country and the progressive upgrading works will ensure that it remains a premium attraction for locals and visitors alike.
“This part of the track traverses areas of considerable historic significance, so we have worked closely with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to ensure that appropriate protocols are in place, in the event that any items of archaeological importance are uncovered,” he says. “The work has been programmed to avoid the peak holiday period, but has to be undertaken now so that it can be completed before weather disruption becomes more likely in the autumn months.”
The walkway will remain open under caution while the work progresses, with short diversions put in place as required, but walkers are advised that there may be delays at times due to the need for short, localised closures for health and safety reasons. The works contractor – Walkway Solutions Limited – will be setting up on-site from 15 January, with helicopter lifts of equipment and construction materials scheduled from 17 January. Subject to weather conditions, work is expected to be completed by early-March.
Caution signs will be put in place later this week at both ends of the affected track section.