A view of Burgess Park. A new slipway is to be developed at the bottom of the amenity.

Work to start in autumn on new Shannon slipway

Construction work is likely to commence this autumn on a major new slipway on the Shannon at the southern point of Burgess Park in Athlone.

The project, by Waterways Ireland, aims to provide access to the River Shannon south of Athlone.

Waterways Ireland said access to the river at this location would promote recreational activity on the river and provide a vital launch point for rescue services and statutory bodies south of the town.

It recently invited tenders for a contractor to design and build the project.

Planning permission was secured in 2017 for the slipway, which is expected to be some 6.85 metres wide and 41 metres long.

Waterways Ireland recently confirmed to the Westmeath Independent that it intends to deliver the project over the next 18 months and an indicative completion date of September 2022 has been given.

Westmeath County Council is providing an access road to the slipway site at the bottom of Burgess Park. The council will also provide six car parking spaces adjacent to the slipway.

Waterways Ireland said there is currently no access point to the river in Athlone for landing or launching boats south of the lock.

Emergency services such as the sub-aqua or the RNLI who require access to the River Shannon in the event of an emergency south of Athlone outside the specified opening times of the lock must go to Shannonbridge for access.

The tender documents state: “the slipway would provide a launch point for craft of rescue services and statutory bodies (Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries and An Garda Síochána), pleasure boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft onto the river.”

The proposed slipway was included in a ten-year Shannon Tourism Masterplan published earlier this year.

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