Durham St will be turned into a green, pedestrian-friendly student hub under a $6.1 million plan approved by the Tauranga City Council yesterday.

Street upgrades to Durham St and Durham Lane are a joint project between the council, the University of Waikato - which is building its new campus in the area - and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The council will wear the bulk of the cost - $5.62m.

An artist's impression looking north up Durham St. Image supplied/TCC and Jasmax
An artist's impression looking north up Durham St. Image supplied/TCC and Jasmax

Mike Thomas from Jasmax said its design included big trees, seating, "as many planter boxes as possible" and rain gardens.

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The council will call for tenders from construction companies early next year with work expected to start on the first stage of the development in the second quarter of 2018.

The first stage, which will include most of Durham Lane and the raised carriageway section of Durham St, will be due to finish in April 2019 and the second stage in 2021.

Plans for the second stage include a bus interchange but the location of it has yet to be settled.