Galway to Athlone Cycleway

The Galway to Athlone Castle National Cycleway forms part of a world class traffic free trail from Dublin to Galway which is of a scale and uniqueness that will allow Ireland to tap into the growing tourism market for cycling. The Cycleway will form part of the Eurovelo network of long-distance cycling routes in Europe, traversing from West to East (Galway to Moscow), with the Galway to Athlone section as the most western portion.

The Galway to Dublin Cycleway is planned to cater for low speed, family-oriented cycling activities, with short daily distances and linkages to tourism activities along the way. This route will connect with the Atlantic Coast Route, which is expected to cater for users looking for longer distances and a more challenging cycling experience.  

Key details

Project name: Galway To Athlone Castle National Cycleway Scheme

Client: Westmeath County Council

Location: Ireland

Services provided:

  • Feasibility Study
  • Route Selection
  • Preliminary Design
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Project Economic and Appraisal
  • Statutory Processes

Challenge

Challenges to the development of the scheme relate to both the natural and human environment. These serve to inform the selection of a suitable corridor.

The natural constraints within the scheme area include the topography, waterways and important ecological sites that pose a constraint in terms of their protection and their sensitivity to disturbance. The human environment constraints include agricultural activities, land ownership, archaeology, architecture and cultural heritage amongst others.

The greatest challenge is developing a strong buy in and consensus with local communities and farmers. Developing leisure infrastructure across privately owned land is unusual in Ireland, and needs strong, early and open stakeholder consultation.

Active travel - cyclist - cycle path.jpg

Solution

The Cycleway will be unobtrusive and have a low impact on the landscape. It will use public land and follow natural topography where possible. It will have few cuttings and embankments, unlike a road or railway which have demanding geometric design constraints.

We place a very strong emphasis on stakeholder consultation, with four rounds of public consultation planned along with extensive liaison with local communities and landowners.

In areas of private land, the Cycleway will be designed to transverse field boundaries and hedge lines, to avoid severance where possible along with houses and farmyards. As the geometry of a Cycleway can be relatively flexible, agricultural impacts can be much less severe than impacts from road projects, for example. The footprint of land needed for the Cycleway is also likely to be comparatively small. 

Project statistics

120-150km
of segregated cycleway.
1st
Coast to coast cycleway route

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