Councillors give final blessing to one-way system

One of the longest running sagas in Athlone council's recent history was put to bed this week, as councillors gave the westward one-way system the OK.

It was a packed chamber for April's Westmeath County Council meeting in Mullingar as councillors and the media gathered to hear whether or not the proposed system would get the final blessing.

Addressing the chamber, chief executive Pat Gallagher said the public consultation process which ran from February 1 to April 4 yielded a total of 43 submissions.

The plan was then proposed by Mayor John Dolan and seconded by Fianna Fáil councillor, Frankie Keena. There were no counter proposals, and so the plan was passed without any difficulties.

Some recommendations have been adopted, including the appointment of a Project Liaison Officer to ensure that clear channels of communication exist between all stakeholders, the council, residents of Athlone, and the media throughout the duration of works.

The chamber also heard that all traffic signals leading to the town centre are to be upgraded to smart systems in order to improve traffic flow.

An additional traffic lane will be added from Station Road to its junction with the Rail Link Road until the latter is finished and fully operational.

The council is also revisiting the idea of colour coding the main circulatory route around the town to provide further direction to residents and visitors alike.

The council will provide two disabled parking spaces and a taxi rank opposite St Mary's Church of Ireland on Church Street.

Arrangements will also be put in place to allow funeral corteges to exit The Strand area via Wolf Tone Terrace and Burgess Park.

In an effort to keep residents of Athlone fully informed of impending works, signage and billboards will be erected containing all information relevant to the public.

Site investigation works for the new system are set to commence straight away with the aim to start the main body of work in the autumn. It is, however, hoped that the one-way traffic system will be fully operational before the schools return in August with the deadline for completion of all works being the end of 2018.

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