Work is to start in the coming weeks on a new 24km greenway in Wexford which is due to open in two years and will eventually link up with existing walking and cycling facilities in adjoining counties.

The South East Greenway is a joint initiative of the local authorities in Wexford, Kilkenny and Waterford as well as partnership organisations in those counties and Wexford County Council has announced that clearing of vegetation and a site investigation contract is to begin later this month.

There will then follow a tender process and the main construction works are due to begin next summer.

The greenway will, when complete, run from New Ross to Ferrybank outside Waterford city, going through south Kilkenny.

Overall cost of the project is €13m, with €5m coming from the councils involved and the remaining €8m via a grant from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

The Greenway will be built along a former railway line between Mountelliott and Waterford and cross the river Barrow along the famous Red Bridge.

It will link to the existing, and hugely successful, Waterford Greenway, via the proposed North Quays and Bilberry Greenway projects.

If and when this happens, it will create a 72km greenway running from Dungarvan in west Waterford to New Ross.

The disused railway line had its passenger services in 1963 and freight services in 1995 and negotiations are under way with Irish Rail to allow the project happen.