A 2.1km extension to the Waterford Greenway is set to connect the popular off-road walking and cycling trail from Bilberry to the city centre.
Works have begun on the extension with a budget of €6.8m, and should be completed within 18 months, the City and County Council said.
“The Greenway has breathed new life into the city and county and the fact that this extension will give users a more comfortable cycling and walking experience is to be welcomed,” said Mayor Joe Kelly.
The Waterford Greenway is a 46km trail linking the city with Dungarvan along the former Great Southern and Western railway line, and was first launched in 2017.
It has proved hugely popular, spurring local business start-ups and providing an exercise and recreational resource for locals and visitors alike.
By linking the route with the city, it is hoped to grow user numbers and provide them with a safer experience on the extended section.
The 2.1km addition will also provide for future Greenway links to New Ross, currently at construction phase, and Rosslare and Tramore.
It comes in a bumper year for Greenways, with the refurbished Limerick Greenway and Royal Canal Greenway both getting official launches this summer.
Funding of €63.5m has also been allocated to several off-road walking and cycling projects in 2021, including €9m for the New Ross to Waterford Greenway, €10m for Cork's Midleton to Youghal Greenway and €5.5m for an expansion of Mayo’s Great Western Greenway.
Last week, the High Court also ruled that its decision upholding planning permission for the South Kerry Greenway project cannot be appealed, raising hopes that a 27km Greenway between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen could move forward.
The €6.8m Waterford contract has been awarded to John Craddock Ltd. of Kilcullen after a tendering process.
Further works will include two structural steel boardwalks, boundary treatment and paving works, including exposed aggregate, limestone/granite slabs and setts.