Westmeath County Council is holding out hope that go-ahead will be given for a cycle path along the old Athlone to Mullingar railway.
The council’s director of services Barry Kehoe said he is hopeful that the disused railway line will be considered as part of plans to introduce a cycleway from Dublin to Galway, the route of which will be decided by June next year.
The council previously had two different applications to the Department of Transport turned down - one for a feasibility study into the use of the Moate-Athlone railway corridor as a cycleway, and the other for the introduction of cycleways within Athlone.
Mr Kehoe’s comments came as councillors gave their approval to the provision of a shared cycle and pedestrian track from Boardstown Bridge (east of the N52 crossing in Mullingar ) to the Meath border, which will extend the existing path by 18km.
Welcoming the move, Cllr Denis Leonard said he hoped it would be highlighted in Westmeath’s tourist literature that visitors will be able to cycle all the way from the Meath border to Coolnahay in the west of the county.
The new stretch of path is being made possible thanks to a €450,000 grant from the Government, and work is expected to start immediately and to be completed mid 2013.