— Part of greenway route to run alongside Oranmore bypass.
The long-awaited detailed route of the Athlone to Galway section of the Dublin to Galway Greenway cross-country greenway has been published.
The route is part of the cross-country Dublin to Galway Greenway, which is largely built between Athlone and Dublin. The 205km route has been subject to substantial opposition from some landowners along it and the project team and is only expected to go to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2024.
The route starts near Ballyloughane Beach to the East of Galway City and then goes through or close to Oranmore, Rinville, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Kinvara, Gort, Woodford, Portumna, Meelick, Clonfert, Ballinasloe, Shannonbridge, and Athlone.
It was already known that the project team had selected the highly indirect ‘red route’ corridor west of Athlone, largely to maximise the use of State-owned lands and to route via tourist destinations. But the more detailed routing today shows the project is also taking the long way around towns like Oranmore.
In most cases, the greenway avoids towns because it would mean detouring to them. But in the case of Oranmore, the detour is via the town’s bypass rather than going through the town. For motorists, the town is effectively bypassed twice, by the N67 and by the M18 motorway. In recent years, there was also an access road built just west of the town’s main street.
It is estimated by the project team, led by Westmeath County Council and consultants RPS, that there are around 490 potentially impacted private landowners along the route. As recently as the start of March, one councillor claimed that some landowners have yet to be contacted but this claim extends not just to affected landowners but those living or who have land “very near to” the route.
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The project team meanwhile claims that “extensive engagement is on-going”, it said: “Where landowners have engaged with this process, they have been listened to and their thoughts and potential issues identified. Where feasible, the route has been amended to address identified issues whilst ensuring the continuity of the route, end to end.”
The project team also published generic cross-sections representing different types of areas/scenarios:
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Four public consultation events are to take place in the coming week, starting tomorrow. These are:
- Oranmore: Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Tuesday 28th March at 3-8pm;
- Gort: Lady Gregory Hotel, Wednesday 29th March at 3-8pm;
- Portumna: Town Hall, Thursday 30th March at 3-8pm; and
- Ballinasloe: Shearwater Hotel, Friday 31st March at 3-8pm.
The project team said: “Landowners, farmers, cyclists, those in the hospitality industry and the wider community are all invited to view the preferred route for the 205 km stretch. Representatives of the project team will be on hand to answer questions about the route at each event.”
For more details and to submit feedback see: galwaytoathlonecycleway.com.
The detailed Emerging Preferred Route of Galway to Athlone Greenway:
For more details see: galwaytoathlonecycleway.com.
CORRECTION: The project team is led by Westmeath County Council and not Galway County Council as previously stated.