A new multi-million-dollar cycle track next to railway lines will connect five Whangarei schools.
The Kamo cycle route has been on the cards for a while as part of Whangarei District Council's 2007 Walking and Cycling Strategy.
But with some promised funding and preliminary approval from KiwiRail to build the track, plans for the Kamo route are now under way.
Greg Monteith, senior asset engineer and reporting officer for the project, said if all funding was confirmed the designs for the cycle way would begin in July.
He said the track would bring great benefits to Whangarei.
"It will get people off the main arterial roads [including Bank St, Kamo Rd, Mill Rd and State Highway 1 between Kamo and Whangarei] which is great for safety and it connects to five schools."
The exact cost of the project would not be available until designs had been finalised but Mr Monteith said he predicted it would cost several million.
The cycle route starts near Station Rd and will follow the railway track down the Kamo Bypass, behind Weaver St, Lupton Ave and right through to Whangarei Intermediate School connecting five schools - Kamo High, Whangarei Boys' High, Whangarei Girls' High, Whangarei Primary and Whangarei Intermediate.
Mr Monteith said based on construction drawings submitted to KiwiRail, council had been given the go-ahead to build next to the existing railway tracks.
"KiwiRail have enough land to build another rail next to it but they don't plan to. There are already people walking along that track so they can see the logic of it as this will take people of the track," he said.
"There's a lot of clearing we'd have to do because some homeowners have built their fences on KiwiRail land, which was fine because they weren't using the land, so we need to have discussions with home owners."
He said safety measures would include a fence between the railway and cycle path and signage.
Funding for the project will come from the New Zealand Transport Agency and the council.
An additional $2 million is likely to come from the Government's new Urban Cycleway Programme. However this amount is dependent on the council increasing its share to a similar amount.
Mr Monteith said it was still to be decided if the council was able to increase funding.
Whangarei district councillor and Bike Northland cycling co-ordinator Stuart Bell said the track was a "great idea".
"It's just awesome it connects with five schools which will mean kids will be able to use the tracks to get to school," he said.
"It will also hopefully be able to be used by a range of people including people on motorised scooters. You see people bumping over driveways so this will be great for them."