New Zealand’s Wellington City Council has announced the opening of the new Hutt Road pedestrian and cycle paths, as well as a bridge over the Kaiwharawhara Stream.

The widening of Kaiwharawhara Bridge marks the completion of the $6.8m Hutt Road project, funded and developed in partnership with the New Zealand government, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Wellington City Council.

Opened by Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter, the new pathway will improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along Hutt Road.

Genter and Wellington Deputy Mayor Sarah Free also unveiled the city’s first bike counter visual display unit on the path outside Spotlight.

The unit will display how many cyclists have passed the point on any given day. In the future, it will also show a running tally for the year.

Over the past 18 months, a total of 27 electronic counters have been gradually installed under paths and roads on key routes around the city.

A second visual display unit is currently operational on the new Oriental Bay bike path.

The completed portion of the Hutt Road pathway forms part of the route from the north used by people from the hill suburbs of Khandallah, Ngaio and Wadestown.

It will also link with the proposed Te Ara Tupua, which will provide a safe footpath and cycle route between Ngauranga and Lower Hutt.

Free said: “Switching to a lower-carbon commute is a practical way Wellingtonians can take action on climate change and help the city achieve its vision to be a zero-carbon capital by 2050.

“About 80,000 Wellingtonians live within a 15-minute bike ride of the central city. With further safety improvements, the potential for a lot more people of all ages and abilities to be making some trips by bike is huge.”