Warrnambool councillors will consider a $3.6 million pedestrian and cycling track from Deakin University through to the city's rail trail.
The path, which will run through central Warrnambool, will be considered at Monday's council meeting following a recent feasibility study.
A concrete shared pathway is proposed from Deakin's Sherwood Station through to Lake Pertobe and the CBD, with the majority to be located within the rail corridor and separated from the rail tracks with a park fence.
An on-road shared path is also proposed through Deakin, Raglan Parade, Simpson Street, Verdon Street, the rail corridor, Bostock Road, Nicholson Street and Timor Street.
Council officers recommend acknowledging the feasibility study and considering funding the various stages of the project's design in future budgets.
The total cost is estimated to be $3.6 million, most of which will include the construction of the pathway and fencing.
The feasibility study identified that the pathway could be constructed in three stages, with each stage set in distinct sections of the path.
The off-road track was previously suggested in the 11-year Active Warrnambool Strategy, which was adopted by previous councillors in 2019. A council report released ahead of Monday's meeting said there was potential for a 'Deakin to City' connection via the cycling/pedestrian path that would not only help Deakin integrate with the city but also provide a recreational and transport link between the CBD and the residents and businesses of east Warrnambool.
"Nearly 5600 residential properties are there within 800 metres of the Deakin off-road rail trail," the report said. "There are few other pathway projects that benefit people on this scale - almost one-third of the population, even more if in the long term the path was extended on to Allansford."
The project would encourage the community to safely ride to school/uni and work, the report said.
In 2019, council engaged a contractor to investigate the options and establish the feasibility of the connection.
The contractor was asked to consider all options but to specifically address the feasibility of three options: the Deakin rail trail, on-road connection from the university to the CBD and a Princes Highway route.
The report identified that both rail trail and on-road connections were achievable and recognised the rail trail as the fastest and most appropriate pedestrian connection.
The pathway would be mostly located on VicTrack land, meaning support from the enterprise would be critical.
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