Construction is to start shorty on an upgrade of the Great Western Greenway between Westport and Achill in Co Mayo — the project will take greenway user off a busy rural regional road.
Currently the western end of the greenway ends short of the end of the former railway, which means users have to take to the main road if they want to travel to or start at Achill Island.
A local newspaper, the Mayo News, reported on Tuesday: “The landowner initially refused to give Mayo County Council access and the greenway could not be extended to the end of the line. However, after many months of negotiations between the landowner, officials from Mayo County Council and members of the community, an agreement has been reached. It is hoped that work will start shortly and be completed before the end of the year.”
The greenway extension will mean that users traveling to Achill Sound village will be taken away from the main road for longer and will only join the main traffic route in the village of Polranny where there is a footpath and a 50km/h speed limit applies. Connected by a bridge, Polranny is on the mainland and Achill Sound is the gateway village to the rest of the island.
Currently the route along the former railway line ends 1km short from the old Achill railway station, located beside the bridge to Achill Island. It means that greenway users wanting to travel to the island are diverted onto a busy regional road for around 1.3km, around 700 metres of which is on a narrow road with a 80km/h speed limit.
As we reported last year, Mayo County Council are already working on a greenway network on Achill Island. At the time, the council said: “Work currently underway on phase one of the extension of the Greenway on Achill Island. We expect to complete phase 1 this year and the entire 12km section to Keel within the next 2 years.”