You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The NZ Transport Agency announced this morning the contract to complete the path's final section - from St Leonards to Port Chalmers - had been awarded to Downer NZ.
NZTA regional relationships director Jim Harland said initial setup work was expected to begin before Christmas.
The work was due to be completed by mid-to-late 2022, he said.
Dunedin Mayor-elect Aaron Hawkins - a Port Chalmers resident - was among the first to welcome the announcement.
"It's great that work will be underway soon to complete this really important link between Port Chalmers and the city centre.
"The facility is wildly popular as far as St Leonards, and this final stage is eagerly anticipated.
"Providing safer walking and cycling options is a key priority for Dunedin. As a resident of Port Chalmers, I'm well aware what a difference a completed shared path will make for all road users,'' he said in a statement.
Mr Harland said the safety improvement project was designed to increase safety for all highway users, including, in particular, pedestrians and cyclists.
The final 5km stage to Port Chalmers was considered the most complex, and work would also include safety improvements along SH88, including installing new roadside safety barriers, Mr Harland said.
The project would represent a "major milestone'' for Dunedin, and was a major road safety investment by NZTA, he said.
"Many people in the local community and across Dunedin will be thrilled that the final link in this shared walking and cycling path is about to begin.''
It would also help boost first impressions of the city for many visitors, he believed.
"As well as being a busy freight route for traffic to and from Port Chalmers, the highway is also the first view of Dunedin for the thousands of people arriving via cruise liners at the port each summer season.''