Agreement finally reached on Railway Field Road deal

Athlone Town Council is now set to take possession of a portion of the controversial Railway Field Road after an agreement with CIE was hammered out last week. It"s been confirmed that the cost of the purchase of land from CIE for the proposed Railway Field Road will be determined by an independent arbitrator. The local authority has been locked in talks with CIE for several years over the acquisition of land for the development, which is seen as a vital component of Athlone"s future road infrastructure. Town Clerk John Walsh met with CIE representatives last Friday for discussions which he said succeeded in advancing the land acquisition process. Mr Walsh confirmed to the Westmeath Independent that both sides agreed to be bound by whatever price the independent arbitrator considers appropriate. The fact that the Railway Field Road had not yet been developed was seen by some as the main reason why the one-way traffic system - which was introduced in Athlone last August - was abandoned in November. A proposed four-lane inner relief road was designed to link Northgate Street with the Crescent junction, via the Railway Field. Speaking last week, Westmeath County Manager Danny McLoughlin said it was his firm intention to put the one-way traffic system 'back on the agenda.' However, he added that this wouldn"t be done before the development of the Railway Field Road, which, he said, 'could take some time.'