Minister of State and Longford/Westmeath TD, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has said the planning and design of a new greenway linking Athlone to Galway at a cost of €3m has taken a significant step forward with the announcement of the tendering competition for the project.
Westmeath County Council is now seeking tenders for the project, which will form part of a 270km cycling route from Galway to Dublin, via Athlone.
“I am very pleased to see continued progress on the greenway. It is very important that we capture our share of this growing tourism market as it will bring significant economic benefit to Athlone and surrounding regions," Deputy Moran remarked.
Westmeath County Council is currently seeking tenders for a €3 million contract to carry out all planning and development stages of the Galway-Athlone cycleway. The route from Athlone to Dublin is being progressed separately. It is estimated it will take 36 months to complete the planning and design phases of the project and includes a new bridge over the River Shannon.
The Galway-Dublin cycleway is expected to boost annual tourism by €13.4 million for local economies, based on modest visitor numbers of 13,600.
“Athlone is at the centre of this major new initiative and with the ongoing success of the Hidden Heartlands brand, we are perfectly places to benefit. The aim of this project is to create a world-class, traffic-free greenway that will tap into the growing global cycling tourism market. It will form part of an international touring route from Moscow to Galway, via Athlone, and the EuroVelo network of long-distance cycling routes in Europe," Minister Moran concluded.