A preferred route corridor has finally been selected for the long discussed Galway to Athlone Cycleway.
The chosen route, Red Route 5 among the five option, put forward skirts the edges of Galway Bay, starting from the city and travelling through Oranmore and south, before turning east, and then back north towards Athlone.
The cycleway would visit Ballyloughane Beach, Oranmore, Rinville, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Kinvara, Coole Park, Gort, Woodford, Portumna, Meelick, Clonfert, Ballinasloe, and Athlone.
The cycleway follows a single path for most of the route, but splits near Shannonbridge to hit Ballinasloe and Athlone.
County Councillor Dr Evelyn Francis Parson said that it is “hugely positive” that the route includes a 16-18km spur into Ballinasloe harbour.
This will be a “transformational tourism signature product” linking Ballinasloe to Shannonbridge and the National Cycleway she added.
“Congratulations to the communities on the selected corridor and it is hoped they can spread the benefits equitably throughout the county.
“While there is still much work to be carried out on final route within the red corridor, the code of practice remarkably remains outstanding and it must be expedited to allay landowner concerns and ensure fairness, and to facilitate links and loops to other towns and villages throughout the communities who want it.”
“There are certain winners in this but I’m also very sensitive there are sorely disappointed communities throughout the east of the county with lots to offer by way of tourism, culture and services.”
City Councillor Owen Hanley said that it is a great day for the people who have campaigned for this, and that it is “only the beginning” of greenway infrastructure in Galway.
“No doubt we will see all that energy again to ensure towns that missed out this time like Athenry and Loughrea are added to the route for recreation, commuting and tourism”
Another public consultation will now run on the preferred route corridor from December 8 until January 31.