Work has started on the new cycle trail link between Paengaroa and Rotoiti and it could be opened temporarily for use over the Christmas break.
The $150,000 trail is being funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and is an important link in the Tauranga to Rotorua cycleway.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council is overseeing the project, which is on the Department of Conservation Roydon Downs Scenic Reserve.
The trail will be closed during construction but Project Manager Geoff Canham says contractors will prepare a trail route to be temporarily available over the Christmas break before work recommences in the new year.
Geoff says local support has been outstanding from farmers, iwi, community and cycling groups. The trail is expected to boost local tourism and visitor numbers.
A further meeting will be arranged with Paengaroa and Okere cafes and businesses to discuss the likely increase in customers, the placement of directional signs and how the trail can be used to promote tourism.
A community working day in September, organised by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Bay of Plenty Charitable Trails Trust, attracted 95 volunteers who began clearing the overgrown trail route.
When completed the link will enable cyclists to avoid using a busy section of SH33 and the completed trail to Rotorua will form part of the Tauranga Moana Cycle Trail and hopefully the New Zealand Cycle Trail network.