West Clare Railway Greenway project construction has entered Phase 1 Contract 1, according to Clare County Council. When completed, a 42km walking and cycling route will connect Ennis to Lahinch, following the route of the discontinued railroad.
Phase 1 Contract 1 will involve the construction of a 3km walking and cycling track connecting the Ennis town centre to the town of Ballymaquiggin. The route will run from the Wood Quay Car Park to Active Ennis Sports & Amenity Park Lees Road.
The project will also rededicate existing roadway to off-road two-way footpaths and cycle paths, which will cross the River Fergus at several different locations on widened paths.
The initial Contract of the West Clare Railway Greenway project, which received nearly €193,000 in funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sport, will take an anticipated 10 weeks to complete. The construction work is being done by Will Bros Limited on behalf of the Clare County Council.
Ian Chaplin, Sustainable Travel Officer for County Clare, said that the West Clare Railway Greenway received funds because it met the specified criteria of being high-profile and having the potential to attract tourists.
Construction has already been completed on Phase 4, which links Ennistymon to Lahinch using a 3-metre wide off-road foot path / cycle path. The route includes bicycle stands and has information boards at three prominent locations.
Cllr. James Breen of Clare County Council, said that once Phase 1 of the West Clare Railway Greenway has been completed, it will be a tourism attraction for those who come to visit Ennis, as well as a key piece of recreational infrastructure for residents of the town and the surrounding areas.
Mr Breen said he wanted to acknowledge the Council for its efforts in bringing forth a world-class off-road recreational path that will, once completed, rival the Great Western Greenway in Mayo.
Cllr. Pat Daly, Mayor of Ennis, said that the first phase of the walking and cycling track will, in addition to attracting tourists, act as a commuter and recreational route for those who live in the town of Ennis and its environs. Forging a path between the town centre to Active Ennis Sports & Amenity Park Lees Road will be especially beneficial to local residents.