Key to the development of the Orange Loop traffic system in the town, work on the Railway Field which has been acquired by Westmeath County Council from CIE, will commence towards the latter end of 2019.
Addressing the Athlone Municipal District, Barry Kehoe, Director of Services, Westmeath County Council, informed the elected representatives that a timeframe of six to nine months would ensure relevant contract documentation is in place with the hope that the appointed contractor, following the tender process, would be on site towards the end of 2019.
“When the contractor commences work on site, I would be hopeful that development would take less than one year to complete with an approximate costing of €4 million,” Mr. Kehoe remarked.
When complete, the development will have an enhanced routeway incorporated as part of the Orange Loop one way system, enabling a steadier flow of traffic around the town.
Excess land remaining after work is completed will allow for additional CIE bus parking, while the residents of St. Francis Terrace may benefit from the potential development of a much sought after green area amenity.
Broadly welcoming the news, the Councillors present enthused with regard to the forthcoming development with Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena noting how he has been highlighting the relevant cause for numerous years at Council meetings.
“It is a fine commercial site within walking distance of the town’s services and amenities. As part of the development of the Railway Field, I would like to see a green space set aside for the St. Francis Terrace residents, if at all possible,” Cllr. Keena commented.
Describing the announcement as a “red letter day”, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke acknowledged the length of time taken to reach an agreement for the acquisition of the Railway Field.
“It has taken us, as a Council, almost 15 years to reach this day. Together, we can now better service the people of our town into the future following this acquisition. We cannot understate the importance of this piece of land to towards the town’s development and I would like to compliment Minister Moran for all his work in this regard,” Cllr. O’Rourke remarked.
Expressing his positive view, Cllr. Paul Hogan stated that the land when developed would enhance and complete the Orange Loop system.
“This development, when complete, will improve the flow of traffic experience for both locals and visitors to our town,” Cllr. Hogan stated.
Echoing similar sentiments, Cllr. John Dolan hailed the work of Minister Moran with regard to the acquisition coming to fruition.
“This project was always on Minister Moran’s agenda since his time as a Councillor here and he did not forget about it when he took his seat in the Dail and I want to commend him for that,” Cllr. Dolan noted.