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Official Opening of New Athy Distributor Road

Kildare County Council hosted Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in the presence on the Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Councillor Daragh Fitzpatrick for the official opening of the new Athy Distributor Road.

The official opening marks the completion of a new 3.4km road that commences east of Athy and provides a southern bypass of the existing town. The scheme includes 5.8km of combined walking and cycling infrastructure including a repurposed railway bridge over the River Barrow, two new roundabouts, new signalised junctions at the Carlow Road and Fortbarrington Road, an 80m single span steel bridge over the River Barrow and a new railway bridge over the Dublin to Waterford railway line.

The scheme will also create 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 under Project Ireland 2040.

The official opening marks the culmination of years of design, planning, consultation, and construction works.  The Athy Distributor Road will allow for the removal of significant volumes of congestion from the centre of Athy, with the associated reduction in pollution. This will allow for the development of further public realm improvement projects to be delivered in the town, including a safety improvement scheme at junctions in the town, a pavement improvement project as well as improvements to Emily Square in the centre of the town.

Speaking in Athy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, “it is great to be here in Athy today for the official opening of the new Athy by-pass ahead of schedule. It is an important day for residents and businesses in Athy, and those who visit the town. The road will ease traffic congestion in Athy’s historic town centre and reduce journey times. It will create a safer travel environment and improve public transport accessibility.”

“It also incorporates a network of pedestrian and cycle-friendly infrastructure which is connected to residential communities, schools, recreational spaces, public transport and businesses. I hope the 5.8km of combined walking and cycling infrastructure will be used by young and old, benefitting the whole community.”

Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Councillor Daragh Fitzpatrick said, “a road project has been talked about in Athy since the 1960’s.  During the intervening periods there have been several incarnations of the project, and the official opening of the scheme today marks the culmination of years of design, planning, consultation and construction works.”

“A sincere thank you to my fellow councillors, TDs & Senators, the Department of Transport, staff at Kildare County Council, BAM and everyone who has worked so hard, over many years, to make this possible.  A special thank you also to the people of Athy, who have been so engaged throughout, during various stages of consultation.  As the Cathaoirleach of Kildare, it is my honour to be here today and to see this important scheme brought to fruition, for the benefit of Athy and the surrounding areas.”

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said, “I commend the expertise and cooperation of all the parties bringing this project to completion. I’m also pleased to see the new infrastructure is complimented by the restoration of an historic, listed bridge as a walking and cycling route connecting with the Barrow Way, the original towpath of the river. The people of Athy will enjoy a more vibrant town with the relocation of traffic to the bypass and the opening of new walking and cycling routes connecting homes, schools, shops and services.“

Sonya Kavanagh, Chief Executive, Kildare County Council said, “Kildare County Council is delighted to have reached this important milestone and bring this significant infrastructure project for Athy and for Kildare to fruition.  We are delighted to welcome Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for the official opening of the Athy Distributor Road and look forward to now seeing the many benefits of the project; including a safer travel environment, reduced journey times and communities enjoying the new cycleways and footpaths.”

“Like any major infrastructure project on this scale, it wouldn’t be possible without strong partnerships and collaboration, working together towards a shared goal. I’d like to thank all those who have been involved in the project at every step and milestone over the years, who have all contributed so significantly to get the project to this point.”

Cathaoirleach of the Athy Municipal District, Councillor Veralouise Behan said, “this is a long awaited, historic day for the town of Athy.  The benefits of the Athy Distributor Road Scheme for Athy will be significant and will contribute to improved access, a safer travel environment, alleviating the traffic stagnation in the town, and improving public transport accessibility. I feel it will contribute significantly to the lives of our communities in Athy. I believe the scheme will also be a catalyst for further developments in the area and allow for several public realm improvement projects to be delivered within Athy town, creating opportunities for continued growth across all sectors in this locality.”

Minister of State, Jack Chambers added, “this is a significant and welcome development for this area. Investing in our roads network and developing modern infrastructure with integrated active travel is essential to keeping road users safe. This development will also ease congestion and improve the quality of life for local residents, commuters and those passing through Athy. I am very pleased this important new distributor is now open and I congratulate all those involved in this project.”

Alasdair Henderson, Executive Director BAM Ireland added, “BAM was immensely proud to be appointed to deliver this project and I would like to congratulate the BAM project team, our supply chain partners, Roughan O’Donovan, and the Kildare County Council site team who worked with Waterways Ireland and Iarnrod Eireann to hand over this vital piece of infrastructure to Kildare County Council and the people of Athy. This project will alleviate traffic congestion, reduce journey times, ensure safe connectivity around the town for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike, and also enhance the scenic amenity along the River Barrow.”

Source: Kildare County Council

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