Connaughton welcomes new cycle route to Ballinasloe

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The announcement this morning that €470,000 is to be provided for the creation of a 20 km cycling route along the former N6 from Athlone to Ballinasloe was welcomed by Deputy Paul Connaughton.

“The Athlone to Ballinasloe route is part of a €7 million euro investment programme for cycle routes announced this morning by Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly.  The funding will see sixteen separate cycling projects built across the country over the next two years, amounting to an additional 334 kilometres of cycleway as part of the National Cycle Network.

“The announcement will see the provision of 20 km of dedicated cycle lanes along the former N6 from Athlone to Ballinasloe, with future potential to link to the Tullamore to Moat route along a disused rail line.

“It is very evident to all road users in East Galway that there has been a huge increase in terms of the number of cyclists on our roads, especially in the last two years.  People of all ages are taking to the highways and byways of east Galway for social and leisure purposes and there has also been an increase in the number of cycling clubs in the region.

“I believe that this morning’s announcement is a particularly welcome development, as it will encourage people in the region to take up this healthy physical activity in a safe environment and will also encourage cyclists travelling east and west to use Ballinasloe as a gateway to exploring the many attractions of east Galway.

“Cycling as a tourism activity has huge potential. The Great Western Greenway, a 42-km cycling route between Achill and Westport, is generating an estimated 140,000 trips per annum along the route and a recent economic appraisal of the route found that it has led to the creation of 38 new full time equivalent jobs in the local area.

“It is hoped that the funding scheme announced today can help replicate these benefits in east Galway and beyond,” concluded Deputy Connaughton.