**UPDATE: Project has been slightly delayed and work is now due to start Sunday 19 November.**
Works to make State Highway 11 safer for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road between the intersections of the highway with Oromahoe Road and Franklin Street are about to start. The works will include lowering the legal speed limit to 60 Kph and electronic warning signs that can be activated by people before they cross the highway The work is being carried out as part of the work to improve the safety of cyclists on the alternative cycle trail between Kawakawa and Opua along Whangae and Oromahoe Roads and is expected to start on Monday, 13 November, and will be completed by Friday, 17 November.
Cycle Trail Trustee and Love Opua Chairperson Richard Green says he is really pleased with the planned works and believes they will make crossing State Highway 11 by the Opua bus stop a lot safer for the school children and others who get on and off buses there as well as for cyclists using the alternative cycle route between Kawakawa and Opua.
The alternative route is being developed by the Far North District Council to maintain the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail’s (the most northerly of New Zealand’s 23 premier cycle trails) “coast to coast” brand. At present cyclists can still ride the existing trail between Kawakawa and Opua but must catch a train either at Taumarere or at Te Akeake to complete the journey. As the train does not operate every day cyclists wishing to make this journey should consult the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway time table before setting out.
Oromahoe and Whangae Roads are both quiet country roads which pass through the beautiful Opua Forest and rolling farmland. There are some lovely views through the trees and the opportunity to see some magnificent Kauri trees. The route is hilly and windy and is best suited to experienced riders with a reasonable level of fitness. It is not recommended for children aged 12 years or younger.
To make it as safe as possible for cyclists and enhance the riding experience the council is making other improvements along the route including a legal speed limit of 60 Kph, better sight lines and a smoother compacted road surface. Signage will also be installed to assist cyclists using this route, and further improvements to the off-road section alongside State Highway 1 near Kawakawa will be made to withstand regular flooding in this location.