Preliminary site work starts for greenway bridge over Shannon

Site investigation work is underway on the river as part of plans for a new pedestrian and cyclebridge over the Shannon.

The preliminary work involves drilling trial holes for foundations on both sides of the river bed for the bridge which is due to cross the Shannon from beside the Radisson Blu Hotel to the Luan Gallery.

A 'central pier' will also need to be constructed in the river to support the new bridge project which forms part of the Dublin to Galway cycleway.

A large yellow floating structure has appeared on the waterway in recent days as specialised staff carry out the preliminary ground works and surveying which is expected to take another week to complete.

“In my last week as Mayor I'm delighted to see work has started on the new bridge. The work entails drilling bore holes to test suitability for the foundations,” Athlone's Mayor Cllr Frankie Keena told the Westmeath Independent.

“It's planned to go to tender to find a contractor to build the bridge next year.” It has previously been estimated that it could be mid-2022 at the earliest before the new bridge is in place.

“It's going to be a major new vista for the town. The design will be a lower profile type bridge so that will not impede the view from the the White Bridge,” the town's Mayor added, saying that he is looking forward to a whole raft of improvements in tandem with the bridge, including a new plaza close to Athlone Castle where cyclists will come out, improvements to the lighting on the Town Bridge and other developments that will give a facelift to the entire area.

The development of the new bridge will also create new looped walking routes which will be welcomed by locals and visitors alike, he said. Meanwhile, work on the other phase of the project from the White Gates (Ballymahon Road) to Athlone Marina is also moving closer to progress.

“In the meantime the council is going to tender next month to extend the greenway from the White Gates to the Marina, with the intention of having this part completed by Easter 2021,” Cllr Keena explained.