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Press Release: The Bridge of Opportunity

Press Release: The bridge of opportunity for a coast-to-coast greenway from Dublin to Galway.

Minister Jack Chambers opens the new Athlone Greenway Bridge

 On Tuesday 8 August, the Athlone Greenway Bridge was officially opened by Minister of State Jack Chambers TD. This project completes 108km of greenway between Athlone Castle and Maynooth forming part of the planned 300km Coast to Coast Greenway Amenity between Galway and Dublin, which is of a scale that allows Ireland to tap into the growing international tourism market for cycling. Such markets provide economic opportunities for new and existing local businesses across the Country.

The Athlone Greenway Bridge will bring pedestrians and cyclists across the mighty River Shannon, Ireland’s longest river and through the very heart of this buzzing town. The bridge is an important part of the overall coast to coast Galway to Dublin Greenway project. The preferred route for the western section between Athlone Castle and Galway was announced earlier this year with the proposed route passing through Shannonbridge, Portumna, Gort, and Oranmore before it reaches Galway City. Along with the international tourism opportunities offered, the new Bridge will also facilitate the compact and sustainable growth of Athlone, a town which was named as a Regional Centre in the National Planning Framework. In terms of Active Travel, this bridge will facilitate a modal shift for travel between east and west.

 Geographically, Athlone boasts a central location, both within the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands region and within the Country as a whole. The centre-point of the new Greenway Bridge features an inlaid bronze plate, highlighting its significance as a crossing point from east to west, at the heart of all that the Greenway, the River Shannon and this vibrant Town have to offer. Charming, picturesque, and ever-surprising, Athlone is fast becoming a tourism hotspot, known for its award-winning restaurants, culture, and heritage. Cyclists and walkers crossing the new Bridge are surrounded by opportunities to explore the town’s charms, including Athlone Castle, with its panoramic views, the Luan Gallery, with its eclectic exhibitions, Sean’s Bar, Ireland’s Oldest Pub, and local craft beer from Dead Centre Brewing. The iconic Viking Boat Tours bring visitors on a captivating trip around the islands of Lough Ree or to the scenic Monastic Site at Clonmacnoise. From culture, art, and heritage, to sport, adventure, and nature, Athlone is at the heart of it all.

 Minister of State Jack Chambers TD said: “I am delighted to formally open this new Bridge this morning. The Government is committed to expanding our active travel and greenway infrastructure network through the provision of walking and cycling facilities in our cities, towns, villages, and rural areas. The opening of this 104-meter-long pedestrian and cycleway bridge over the River Shannon connects both sides of Athlone town via a dedicated cycle route. This bridge also provides a safe off-road river crossing connecting the east and west of the Country ensuring that we now have a fully segregated Greenway for active travel users from Maynooth to the western side of Athlone. Approximately €15 million has been spent to date by the Department of Transport in relation to the construction of this Bridge, further work is underway to extend this Greenway to Galway city; the funding of a national Greenway stretching from Dublin to Galway is a commitment under the Programme for Government. The opening of this bridge marks a milestone in the delivery of this project”.

 Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Liam McDaniel echoed that; “it’s great to see the Athlone Pedestrian and Cycleway Bridge opening today extending the Greenway across the Shannon to Athlone Castle on the west of Athlone and providing fully segregated greenway between the two main towns in Westmeath. This project benefits the wider community providing active travel linkages for school children, students, employees, and local residents.”

 Cllr. McDaniel thanked the Minister and his Department for their support and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) who are instrumental in advancing these greenway projects on a national scale. The Cathaoirleach paid tribute to the Chief Executive and staff of Westmeath County Council who are working with the consultants and contractors to advance and complete these greenway projects that integrate seamlessly into the existing surroundings and are a worthy addition to the civic life of Athlone.

 Geraldine Fitzpatrick Head of Roads Capital Programme said; “delivering these projects as part of the Galway to Dublin Cycleway in partnership with both the Department of Transport and Westmeath County Council is an excellent example of how to provide safe and effective active travel connectivity.”



Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 11/08/2023