So, the much talked about, often maligned, and certainly controversial westward one-way system finally comes into play on Church Street, Athlone, this morning.
Years of debate, argument and counter argument have finally been put to bed on an issue that has divided many in the town, from business people to local representatives. One casts the mind back to the failed 2008 eastward one-way pilot as proof of its division, but this time around the project is no experiment, the new traffic arrangement for Athlone is here to stay. With a €3m investment, there is truly no going back now.
As a result, when you jump into your car this morning to head eastwards across the town bridge, your route will no longer bring you along Church Street, but will instead direct you left down Northgate Street via the so called ‘Orange Loop’, which has been clearly detailed on billboards around the town for the past number of weeks.
The loop will bring drivers down Northgate Street, veering right onto Southern Station Road and on to the Ballymahon Road and Gleeson Street, before turning down Mardyke Street and continuing to Church Street itself.
It is estimated that the entire €3m Church Street Enhancement Project will take a total of 10 months to complete, concluding prior to Christmas 2018.