New €6m Garrycastle Bridge to be officially opened today after year-long construction

The official opening of the new Garrycastle Bridge is to take place this morning, Friday May 9, at 11.30am.

The recently completed R916 Garrycastle Bridge Realignment Scheme is the final phase of the upgrading works on this important regional road.

The construction works commenced in April 2013 and the project was funded by the Department of Transport at a cost of €6 million, which included the costs of construction as well as design, land acquisition, and relocation of utility services.

A spokesperson for Westmeath County Council said the opening of this scheme will benefit Athlone town and surrounding areas by “increasing the level of access to the town and helping alleviate congestion, therefore improving the industrial, commercial, educational, and sporting potential of the region, as well as making a significant contribution to implementing the Government’s Smarter Travel Policy”.

They added that the road at this location had been substandard, with Garrycastle Bridge in particular “hazardous for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists”. The regional road R916 is a major distributor road in Athlone, serving a large number of people wishing to access schools, Athlone Institute of Technology, SOLAS (Athlone Training Centre ), and major local employers and facilities such as the IDA Ireland Business Park at Garrycastle, Ericsson, ESB, and the local Spar shop.

It is also an important distributor road for local residents. The Garrycastle Bridge Realignment Scheme comprises 670 metres of single carriageway regional road, a single span bridge over the Athlone to Mullingar railway, two roundabouts, and 230 metres of reinforced concrete retaining walls, with associated permanent safety barriers and pedestrian guardrails. The scheme includes cycling and walking facilities which will encourage a shift to more sustainable and healthy forms of transport.

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