Transport officials have proposed building a new footpath in Moray next to the A96 Aberdeen road to improve safety for pedestrians.
Bear Scotland have suggested the 820-yard walkway from Lhanbryde to the Threaplands garden centre and cafe, east of the village.
The proposals would also take cyclists to the quiet Loch Oire road to access a path to Fochabers – closing a gap between the Speyside village and Elgin.
New A96 path would close gap in Moray cycle route
Concerns have been raised that cycling on the busy road puts off people using pedal power due to safety fears.
Mr Lochhead said: “There’s a lot of work being done to encourage people to leave their cars at home and to travel by bike and there’s no doubt that having good joined up infrastructure is key to getting more people to choose active travel.
“As I keen cyclist myself, I know that these plans will be a real boost to the area and hopefully will encourage more people to get on their bikes.”
If approved, construction is expected to get underway in the summer.
Ian Stewart, Bear’s north-east representative, said: “The proposed project for the A96 east of Lhanbryde will help create a safer active travel link from the village toward Threaplands Cafe and Garden Centre.
“From there, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel on the low-trafficked local road past Loch Oire where they can then join the existing shared-use footway and cycleway near Fochabers.
“Road safety is our top priority and the proposals will help ensure that the road network continues to provide safe travel options for all users, not just motorists.
“While no final decision has been made regarding the proposals, we’re working towards getting construction underway towards the end of summer.”
Cycle paths part of A96 dualling vision
Transport Scotland has already proposed nearly 25 miles of dedicated footpaths and cycle paths as part of the A96 dualling project between Nairn and Fochabers.
The routes are also due to be designed with horse riders in mind.
Comments about the proposals near Lhanbryde can be made on the Bear Scotland website.
The deadline for views to be submitted is Monday, June 14.