Donegal TD Joe McHugh has secured formal commitment from transport chiefs for the extension of a new cycleway and footpath along the €20million Blue Banks road project.
Mr McHugh revealed the chief executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Michael Nolan wrote to him to confirm it would fund a new stretch of dedicated greenway from Coolboy to Illistrin.
“Extending this route is going to be a massive asset for tourism and leisure in Co Donegal,” the Fine Gael minister said.
“In the finish up, when this €20million Blue Banks to Kilmacrennan road project is completed, with an uninterrupted greenway, we will have a quality and safe path for cyclists and walkers almost 6km long. But we are setting our sights much higher.
“I see this as the start of connecting Derry City to Inishowen and then to Letterkenny and on to Glenveagh National Park and the Gaeltacht islands – all with a dedicated route for cyclists, walkers and runners.
“We are thinking big here. The ultimate goal is to link all these cycleway projects and create one of the most spectacular greenways in western Europe.
“Huge efforts have already been made on greenways on the old railway line including by community groups from Termon and Burtonport. I want to commend them all.”
Discussions are to take place between Donegal County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland on finalising design and funding for the new, extended cycle path on the N56.
Fine Gael councillor for Letterkenny Jimmy Kavanagh said: “Quality greenways are a key and crucial part of the infrastructure for Letterkenny and the county in the coming years.
“They tick a lot of boxes – we have LYIT working on applying for university status, there’s the focus on the Letterkenny-Derry-Strabane city region plan and the growing numbers of students and workers and tourists coming into the area. The demand will be there and the benefits will be huge.”
Mr McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, revealed last month that he had initiated the process to secure funding to extend the cycle way from Letterkenny to Kilmacrennan.
“I have also been told that Donegal County Council is assessing the route from Letterkenny to Illistrin National School to see if a cycleway can be retrofitted,” he said.
“I would like to thank Seamus Neely and his team in Donegal County Council and Michael Nolan and his team in Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for the work and effort they have put into these projects.
“It’s just one in the long line of big investments in roads infrastructure in Donegal and the combined focus on tourism, leisure and fitness.
“When it comes to improving roads and road facilities in Donegal, this Government is thinking smart and delivering big.
“One we were a county playing catch-up but with the influence I have exerted at cabinet level real and important changes are being made. The diggers are on the ground, the construction workers are laying the roads and the people are seeing and feeling the difference.”
Mr McHugh also said he will be bringing in officials from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the next few weeks to see how we can continue to build on cycle way connectivity to Glenveagh National Park.Tags: