Nenagh is to benefit from a further €150,000 worth of investment under the jobs initiative.
Junior Minister for Public Transport Alan Kelly has signed off on funding for the provision of 2,000 metres of a cycle and pedestrian path along the N52 to complete a walkway around Nenagh.
“This will help the local economy in a small way and deliver a facility that will be used by cyclists and walkers from the town.
“It will also create a small number of jobs before the end of the year so it is to be welcomed,” stated Deputy Kelly.
“As a local person I am aware of how popular this walkway is. It is constantly being used and I’m delighted to be able to ensure it upgraded for the people of Nenagh and the surrounding areas,” he added.
The funding will complete a 6Km walkway around Nenagh and comes via smarter travel funding under the jobs initiative announced earlier this year.
The Department of Transport was not able to complete some projects in Dublin, and Deputy Kelly has overseen the transfer of these funds to towns such as Nenagh to deliver tangible projects before the end of the year.
The new cycle and pathway is expected to create in the region of 15 extra jobs between now and the end of the year.
“Many walkers already use the N52 during summer evenings, but the lack of pedestrian facilities means it is not always the safest.
“Now children and walkers will be able to use a much safer local facility which will represent a great improvement for the town,” he said.
Mayor Virginia O’Dowd has welcomed the funding for the cycle and walking route along the N52 Nenagh bypass.
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“As someone who is involved in promoting greater use of our cycle ways and walking, I am delighted to see that a circular link will now be made around the town that will make it safer for people to enjoy the lovely routes we have around Nenagh,” she said.
“While people have always enjoyed the facilities along the bypass, the surface was uneven and broken in parts and was prone to flooding. This work will create a smooth path for all users,” said the Mayor
Meanwhile, A cycling lobby group has called on the Department of the Transport, Tourism and Sport to postpone work on its new cycle lane initiative that will see around €800,000 being spent on turning the hard shoulder along the old Nenagh to Limerick road (N7) into a long distance cycle route as part of the Government’s €4m Employment Initiative.
Cyclist.ie, Ireland’s national cycling lobby group who are based in Dublin, has called on the Government to postpone the initiative that will involve replacing rural road hard shoulders with cycle lanes.
They pointed out that they had already called for a moratorium on the construction of roadside cycle facilities because many urban cycling facilities in place had been a poor use of public money, were badly maintained and not even subjected to regular roadsweeping and left piled with snow during winter.
Cyclist.ie chairman, Dr Mike McKillen stated: “The construction of roadside cycle facilities should cease until a proper framework is in place to ensure their appropriate design, construction, application and subsequent maintenance.”
According to the cyclists, the inappropriate use of cycle facilities can actually end up making cycling conditions worse, rather than better. In the case of rural roads, the issue of maintenance is even more pressing since rural roads are less likely to get any regular attention from councils’ roadsweeping equipment.
In a letter to the Government they state: “As a ‘cycle friendly’ treatment, existing hard-shoulders have the advantage over roadside cycle lanes since they are effectively self-cleaning and avoid false expectations of safety among the users.
“It seems wholly inadvisable to replace serviceable hard-shoulders with cycle lanes that are likely to reduce safety and comfort. This is nothing more than a make-work scheme that simply ignores cyclists’ real need for safer interaction between motorised vehicles and riders on our public roads”.
The group said thay had offered to provide the Government with a range of alternative schemes that would represent a better use of the Smarter Travel money.