Next greenway phase could open by Easter

The sight of construction beginning on the next stretch of the cycleway from the current endpoint at the Whitegates into town close to Athlone Marina is moving ever closer with tenders for the job issued in recent days.

ABOVE: Pictured is Athlone Marina and the Radisson Blu Hotel, beside which the next section of the cycleway will conclude.

The latest phase, just a kilometre in length, extends the Dublin to Galway Greenway from the Whitegates, the level crossing along Ballymahon Road, Athlone, into town adjacent to the Radisson Blu Hotel, and is a precursor for the next more complex and costly section which will see a new bridge built over the River Shannon to take cyclists over to Athlone Castle.

“It (the latest section) goes from the Whitegates along 700m of disused railway line down a ramp towards Dunnes Stores and then through an underpass, then linking across to the old abattoir site, bringing you to the perimeter of St Vincent's and along by Abbey graveyard which will be widened before finishing at Marina Lane,” Michael Kelly, Senior Executive Engineer from Westmeath County Council's National Roads Office explained on Monday last.

“We'd hope to have it open for Easter next year,” he said. Tenders were published on August 7 last with a deadline for entrants of September 4.

“We'd hope to have an appointment in October for a six-month contract,” Mr Kelly added of the construction plans.

The next phase will consist of earthworks and paving works for the cycleway track along the route, according to the tender documents, along with new culvert works, landscaping, installation of public lighting, electrical works, and traffic signalling works.

A boundary wall in the grounds of St Vincent’s Care Centre in Athlone will be rebuilt so that the cycleway will go between two walls and will not impinge on the workings of the site.

“It's (the bridge) at detailed design stage and it's hoped to go tender on that in early 2021,” he said.