Kildare County Council has held a sod turning event with Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD to mark the commencement of works on the new Athy Distributor Road project.
Works commenced onsite recently with all works to be completed by BAM Civil Limited who were appointed as the main works contractor in 2021 following an extensive tender process and confirmation of funding for the project by the Department of Transport as part of Project Ireland 2040.
The new Athy Distributor Road, upon completion, will include the provision of two new roundabouts, new signalised cross-roads junctions, approx. 3.4km of footpath and cycleway as well as the construction of an 80m single span steel bridge over the River Barrow. The scheme will also include permeability links to several locations in the town of Athy.
The existing railway bridge crossing the River Barrow will be re-purposed as a pedestrian cycle bridge. The Athy Distributor Road will alleviate traffic congestion, creating a safer travel environment in Athy as well as reducing journey times and improving public transport accessibility. The project is fully funded by the Department of Transport.
Welcoming the commencement of works, Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Cllr Naoise Ó Cearúil commented, “after a long process, I am delighted that we are finally here turning the sod for the Athy Distributor Road. This road will reduce congestion but more importantly it will improve the economy of the wider area. I’d like to commend the local representatives and community in bringing the project to this point as well as the Government for the considerable investment.”
Speaking from the sod turning in Athy, Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD said, “I am delighted to be here today for the official sod turning ceremony for the Athy Distributor Road. When improving our existing road network, it is vital that we take account of the needs of all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. I am delighted to see that this project identifies the essential need to incorporate a strong network of pedestrian and cycle-friendly infrastructure that is connected to schools, residential communities, public transport, businesses and recreational spaces. The primary function of this project is to divert unnecessary through traffic away from Athy’s town centre and to improve the public realm, while also contributing to an efficient transport network in the town itself. I am very excited to see this critical project through to completion and I look forward to returning to Athy again for the official opening.”
Welcoming the commencement of works, Sonya Kavanagh, Interim Chief Executive, Kildare County Council said, “Kildare County Council is delighted to have reached this important milestone and see work get underway on this significant infrastructure project for Athy and for Kildare. We are delighted to welcome Minister Naughton to turn the sod on site and look forward to seeing the many benefits of the new Athy Distributor Road come to fruition; including a safer travel environment, reduced journey times and new cycleways and footpaths.”
Commenting on the role the new Distributor Road will play in Athy, Cathaoirleach of Athy MD, Cllr Ivan Keatley said, “this vital new infrastructure will bring significant benefits to the town of Athy and I thank all the staff of Kildare County Council both past and present who have worked to bring the project to this important point.”
Minister of State, Martin Heydon TD, who was also in attendance to mark the event, commented, “this is a milestone event for the people of Athy who have waited many years to see substantial works on the Athy Distributor Road. This project has been a priority for me since I was first elected and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the town of Athy, its residents and businesses.”
Tadgh Lucey, COO, BAM Ireland Limited added, “for over 60 years BAM has been delivering road infrastructure projects across the country, from the M7 Newbridge Bypass in the early 1990s to the recently upgraded M7 Newlands Cross Interchange and we are excited to be turning the sod on this important project for the county of Kildare. Headquartered in Kill, we are immensely proud to be appointed by Kildare County Council to deliver this road. When complete, it will benefit the historic town of Athy and surrounding area by alleviating traffic in the town centre, reducing journey times, improving safety, and enhancing the amenity along the Barrow. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of everything we do at BAM and our team will be using their expertise to complete this project efficiently, safely, and with environmental considerations to the fore.”
Source: Kildare County Council