The emerging preferred route corridor for the Athlone to Galway cycleway was published in December.

Athlone-Galway cycleway planners aiming for 'the least disruptive route'

The project team behind the planned cycleway between Athlone and Galway have extended their current period of public consultation, saying they want to "engage with all landowners" along the proposed route corridor.

The project's planners also said they would be aiming to develop the cycleway along the "least disruptive route" and would seek to avoid intersecting private land where possible.

Last month, the route corridor - which outlines the general direction the cycleway will take - was published.

It took in Shannonbridge, and includes a link with Ballinasloe, before travelling through east and south Galway en route to the city.

A public consultation on the route corridor got underway on December 8, and was due to conclude at the end of January, but this has now been extended by four weeks until February 28.

In a statement this morning, the project team emphasised that the specific route of the cycleway had not yet been chosen, and that the route corridor instead represented the area "within which the cycleway could potentially be routed."

It added that it would be continuing to consult and engage with landowners "throughout the coming weeks and months, even after public consultation ends."

Following the lifting of most Covid-19 restrictions, plans are also afoot to re-open the cycleway project's information office in Ballinasloe.

The cycleway project team said the chosen route corridor was "well defined in areas of publicly owned lands including Bord Na Móna lands, Coillte forest roads and ESB lands."

It said that where private lands are included, the route corridor "is wider, and future discussions with landowners will form the basis for developing the route within the corridor.

"The project team will endeavour to pick the least disruptive route possible, likely to be along the property boundary, and it wants to engage with all landowners to understand the specific needs unique to each landholding in order to incorporate this into their technical studies towards informing the next stage of the project," it stated.

The statement went on to say that the project team had contacted "thousands of landowners over the past two years" and had held meetings with many of the landowners across the project study area.

"Project Liaison Officers continue to be available to meet with landowners or talk on the phone. Landowners can contact the project team directly to arrange a meeting at a time and venue that suits them," the statement said.

A 'Code of Best Practice' for National and Regional Greenway Projects, and details of Greenway Sustainability Payments, were published in December after being developed for the Department of Transport by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), farming representatives, local authorities, and other stakeholders.