Westmeath County Council today opened a greenway bridge over the River Shannon today — likely to be the final extension of the greenway westwards until the Athlone to Galway section gains planning permission.
East of Athlone, the greenway runs along the Old Rail Trail to Mullingar where it joins the Royal Canal Greenway which stretches from Lonford to Maynooth. There are several delays with the route between Maynooth and the end of the Grand Canal at the Liffey.
The bridge is part of an extension of the greenway in the town. The route had already been largely opened from the former start of the Old Rail Trail at Ballymahon Road to the Athlone Marina.
Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers (FF) said: “It was an honour to open the Athlone Greenway Bridge this morning. It’s a huge resource for the town and region with improved active travel for all & a real boost for tourism. It also marks the point where East meets West on the broader Dublin- Galway Greenway development.”
He told RTE News that the government were looking at providing both greenways and railways. The Government’s draft railway review includes reopening the Athlone to Mullingar railway but it’s unclear what effect this will have on the greenway which uses the former line which remains in the ownership of Irish Rail’s parent company, CIE.