Still some way to go on Railway Field purchase

The council and CIE have yet to come to a agreement on the price of land necessary for the construction of the Railway Field Road.

Director of services, Barry Kehoe revealed at this week's meeting of the Athlone Municipal District that valuations of the land by the council and CIE are a few hundred thousand euros apart.

The Railway Field Road, which would cut through a patch of waste ground to run from the Crescent junction to St Vincent's Care Centre, is regarded by the council as an essential element in future traffic management plans for the town, particularly in the context of the installation of a one-way system on Church Street.

The issue has dragged on for more than a decade. However, as of late, Mr Kehoe has made serious progress, with just the cost of the land now up for discussion.

Mayor Aengus O'Rourke (FF ) expressed concern regarding the delay. He commended Mr Kehoe for the work he has undertaken, but said he hopes the council is not now faced with another protracted discussion regarding the cost of the land. He added that purchasing the land is crucial to the future development of the town, but not so much to the day-to-day operations of CIE.

Cllr Frankie Keena (FF ) questioned whether funding is in place for the construction of the road once an agreement has been reached with CIE.

Mr Kehoe said the delay cannot be laid at the feet of CIE, and that the valuing process underway is normal practice in situations of this kind.

He concluded by saying that while funding for the road has not yet been secured, he is confident that agreement can be reached with CIE in the coming weeks regarding the purchase of the field. The project can then go out to tender in mid 2018, with the road hopefully in place by mid 2019.

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