A greeneway route from Dublin to Galway could be completed within five years Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport.
He was speaking on Morning Ireland this morning on RTE Radio One in advance of officially opening the Castleknock to Ashtown section of the Royal Canal Greenway, part of the Dublin to Galway route.
In a statement this morning the Department of Transport said that the preferred route from Athlone to Galway announced as: Shannonbridge, Loughrea, Craughwell, Clarinbridge and Oranmore.
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The 2.5km, €2 million Ashtown to Castleknock section may be upgraded again in the future as pinch points have been left in the route where it crosses the M50, and the canal at Ashtown. “Cyclists dismount” signs have been used at the M50 crossing, which consultants previously marked as the do nothing higher risk option.
Minister Varadkar said: “It’s great to see the Galway to Dublin Greenway taking shape. Two years ago we only had a simple idea to run a Greenway along the Royal Canal. Now three sections are open to the public and being used actively by walkers, cyclists and for other leisure pursuits. Today I’m delighted to formally open this new section between Ashtown to Castleknock.”
“I’m also pleased to confirm the preferred route for the section running between Athlone and the Galway coast. Instead of trying to build the entire route in one go, at a time when resources are very limited, I have taken an incremental approach by developing each section as funding becomes available. Although we still have a huge task in finishing the rest of the project, I’m really looking forward to walking, cycling or running along the entire route between Dublin and Galway when it’s finally completed,” he added.
The department points out that a section in Dublin from Guild Street to Sherriff Street has opened; a second 25km section in Westmeath, from Grange South in Mullingar to the Meath border has opened; and the Ashtown to Castleknock section was opened today.
“The 40km section between Mullingar and Athlone will be completed next year, after €4 million was allocated by Minister of State for Transport Alan Kelly. Two further sections totalling 40km in Kildare and Meath are at shovel ready stage, and work will start as soon as funding becomes available,” said the department.
The route is being developed by local councils with support and funding via the National Roads Authority for the Maynooth to Galway section, and the National Transport Authority for the Greater Dublin Area section.