Mayor of Athlone, Aengus O’Rourke, has welcomed progress on the development of the Railway Field Road.
At last week’s Municipal District Meeting, Director of Services, Barry Kehoe, gave an update to members in relation to the ongoing Railway Field saga. He told Councillors that CIE had finally set out their terms for selling the all important piece of ground which included their asking price. He also told the meeting that CIE has agreed to the design layout of the proposed new road that is envisaged for this site, should a deal finally be reached.
Reacting to the news, the Mayor O’Rourke said: “The design of our proposed road through the Railway Field has been a real sticking point for a long time with CIE, time and time again they sent back the drawings and looked for changes to be made - it has been a very difficult process. However, without going over all that old ground now, I am delighted to say that we finally have agreement on this key aspect of these prolonged negotiations with the company.
“Now comes the negotiations on price, both sides will have valuations carried out and a price will be agreed I hope sooner rather than later. We will then have to turn to the Department of Transport for funding to buy and build the road. This will be a very expensive piece of road infrastructure but we will make a very good case for it to the Department and I would be confident of a good outcome.”
“Over a number of years we as a council put away a total of €600,000 for the purchase and development of this field from CIE. However, it will take a lot more than this to buy and build the road, but it puts us in a good position to make a case to the Department for funding when we have a significant amount like this to put towards the project.”
Mayor O’Rourke added that the development of the Railway Field site is very important for Athlone, in particular for proper traffic management and for its development as a town.
“After 15 years of difficult negotiations, we have never been as close to a deal as we are now. So, as mayor I will ensure that we keep the ball rolling and work towards a final deal in the coming months.” he concluded.