The Hauraki Rail Trail has secured a total of $3.7m in Government and Council funding to repair and upgrade the cycle network after damage suffered in recent storms.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced on the 15 June that it will contribute just over $2m towards the project. This is matched by joint funding from Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, and Matamata-Piako District Councils, which will contribute to the three-year repair project.
The trail suffered severe damage to its surface and stability in this year’s summer storms, with the funding ensuring its recovery and resilience. The Tourism Minister Peeni Henare made the announcement of the funding in Matamata.
“I am grateful for the support we have from our three District Councils, and central government in working with us to resolve the funding hole we were facing after the storms,” said Diane Drummond, CEO of the Hauraki Rail Trail. “This community asset is of such great importance to our local community, providing both strong economic and health benefits. To see it on its knees in February, was very sad. With our borders now open again, we need to dust off the dirt and get on with the mahi now.” Diane continued on to say, “The works programme would take another eighteen months to complete, such was the scale of the damage.”
Minor works are already underway throughout the network, with the project due for completion in 2025. Trail users can Follow us on Facebook to stay informed with work updates.
The major repairs included in the project are:
Rehabilitation on the trail from Kaiaua to Rays Rest. Relocating the track away from the unstable northern end of Rays Rest.
Putting in a bypass of the ongoing Waikato Regional Council stop-bank works and then relaying the trail.
Resurfacing and bridge repairs between Thames and Hikutaia.
Extensive works between Paeroa and Waihi to stabilise and resurface the trail.
Surface and slump repairs between Paeroa and Te Aroha.
Strong support for the repair project reflects the contribution the 160 km Hauraki Rail Trail makes to the surrounding regions. It is used by 115,000 people each year, many of whom are tourists.
Recent research showed that the Trail had a high return on investment, with visitor spend, business development, job creation and positive health outcomes credited in its contribution to the area.
Photo: Damage sustained at the northern end of the Trail on Section A
Photo: Trail surface damage between Kaiaua and Miranda
Photo: Bridge approach repairs on Section B between Hikutaia and Thames
Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Hauraki Rail Trail and surrounding region in the early hours of 14 February 2023, causing the floodgates at Criterion Bridge, Paeroa to be used for the first time in their history to protect the township. Parts of the Ohinemuri River that runs through the Karangahake Gorge which has a normal river level of 0.8 m, reached a height of 7.11 m.
While there was some damage across the 160 km network, the hardest hit was between Waikino and Waihi, where one section of the Trail has slipped completely, and large tomos appeared that were waist deep. The resilience works undertaken last year held up during the storm, however any repairs with a natural surface failed.
Photo: A slip between Waikino and Waihi on Section C of the Trail
Photo: A large tomo between Waikino and Waihi on Section C of the Trail
Photo credit: Sue Middleton / Biking Hiking Shuttles - Flooding at Te Aroha
You can read more about the Section A Trail Status information for surface damage and on-going projects here.
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