Funding totalling €1.6 million has been announced this week for a number of active travel projects in Longford Westmeath. The grants, part of a €33 million tranche of funding nationwide, will go towards improving footpaths, cycleways, and accessibility to transport facilities.
The Westmeath projects being funded include:
• Provision of off-road bus stops, pedestrian crossing and link footpath on west side of road near Ericssons, Athlone.
• Provision of pedestrian Facilities/footpath on south side of road at Bonavalley from Black’s Avenue junction to the junction at Reddingtons, Old Dublin Road, Athlone.
• Provision of 700m footpath/cycleway and public lighting on R390 and R392 from Grange south to Weldons Cross to Cloon Lara, Mullingar.
• Widening of 300m of footpath on Delvin Road, Mullingar, to incorporate cycleway from Lakepoint Housing Estate to St Coleman’s School, Royal Canal Greenway, and Mullingar town centre.
Chair of the Planning and Transport SPC and Deputy Mayor of Athlone, Councillor Louise Heavin, said: “The funding announced today is really welcome news. Walking and cycling should be a key part of our transport system and daily lives. In particular I am pleased to see a new foothpath at Bonavally in Athlone and the works that will improve walking routes to our schools. I look forward to seeing these projects realised and working with the council to identify and implement future projects to aid walking and cycling in our communities.”
Councillor Hazel Smyth of the Mullingar Kinnegad Municipal District, and member of the Enviroment SPC, added: “It’s fantastic to see much-needed investment by the Government in active travel. It will be great to have more footpaths provided for in and around Mullingar as part of this.”
Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks, Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, commented:“The Active Travel grant scheme is a very positive initiative which will see communities across the country benefiting from improved and more accessible walking and cycling infrastructure as well as stimulating local employment. The projects included in the scheme can make a real difference to people – footpaths and cycle ways that allow children to walk/cycle to school and to local sport clubs; the dishing of footpaths and pedestrian crossings that improve access to local amenities and links to public transport, and improvements to town and village centres that will support our hard hit retail and hospitality sectors.”
A number of projects in the county were also successful in securing funding for climate change activation measures, with these grants also announced this week.
Grants were approved under this scheme for drainage works to prevent flooding in Killucan and Crookedwood; and altering the level of the road to mitigate flooding at Ballynacliffy and Cartron (serving Muckanagh ), Athlone.
Cllr Frankie Keena welcomed the funding under both schemes, saying these works when completed will be of great benefit to pedestrians and cyclists as it will make it easier for them to move around the town in safety.
“Within the Athlone Moate Municipal District €430k is earmarked for provision of footpaths and cycle lanes at various pinch points throughout Athlone, €200k for altering the level of the road which serves Muckanagh at Ballynacliffy and Cartron to mitigate against flooding, [and] €10k for footpath provision on the Ballycumber road Moate,” Cllr Keena said.
“The Athlone allocation includes the provision of bus bays, pedestrian crossing and footpaths on the R916 near Ericssons, the widening of the footpath on the R446 to enhance the Golden Mile walking route on Grace Road, plus the provision of a new footpath from Black’s Lane Bonavalley to Pat Reddington’s Furniture store, traffic management on Abbey Road in favour of pedestrians and cyclists, footpath from N6 roundabout to IDA Park entrance, plus lighting and footpath provision between Brawny and Retreat across the Greenway.
“The R916 from Cornamaddy NS to Garrycastle is an extremely busy road serving the AIT, IDA Business Park, Bliary Business Park, local schools, and indeed Ericsson. The works planned in this location will make it more attractive for people to either use bicycles or walk and indeed to use public transport as their preferred method to get to their destination of choice,” he added.
“Over the last year or so I received numerous representations from businesses and general public on these projects and now I am delighted to see that the funding has been approved. It is important to say that these projects will be completed this year as this money has to be spent in 2020,” he concluded.