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Barrow Blueway Works - Press Release 30.07.2020

Kildare County Council in conjunction with Laois County Council and Waterways Ireland are excited to announce the commencement of works to the proposed Barrow Blueway which will run from Lowtown in Kildare, through the towns of Rathangan, Monasterevin, and Vicarstown to Athy.

Blueways are recreational outdoor activity trails centered on the scenic environs of the waterways of Ireland. They offer a range of activities, both on and alongside the water with cycling and walking complementing the paddling trails. They offer experiences that are safe and accessible to all.

The planned upgrade is to provide a multi-activity 46km off-road, flat accessible, public space and leisure route together with approved paddling trails for on water access. The proposed upgrade will improve access to the beautiful Barrow Way, both on and along the water, offering an enhanced experience to walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs users, paddlers and families.

This project entails the development of the Blueway through the following townlands; Lowtown, Rathangan, Monasterevin, Vicarstown and Athy and outlying areas, along the route of the Grand Canal Barrow line and follows the trackway along the river.

This notice applies to Phase 1 of the works – works to towpath only. Phase 2 is due to commence early 2021, which includes works to road crossings and safety works. Phase 3 being 2 new footbridges at Rathangan and Athy.

The proposed works to Phase 1 are to commence on August 4th at Milltown Bridge, approximately 3km north of Athy, with localised closures to facilitate the upgrade of the towpath. The duration of works along the towpath this year will be approximately 16 – 18 weeks. The works will be carried out in accordance with all Environmental and Planning Conditions and under the oversight of an Ecological Clerk of Works, to ensure any potential negative environmental impacts are avoided and ecological mitigation is implemented in accordance with legislation and best practice.

This top tourist attraction is due to be complete early 2022 and will not only offer a huge economic boost, positively influencing economic growth opportunities, it will also increase that sense of community, create exciting opportunities for both recreation and ways to experience many of the community’s interesting places from new perspectives.

The health benefits that the Barrow Blueway can offer are now more important than ever. Studies have shown that as little as 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, such as bicycling, walking, paddling and running can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health. Providing opportunities for participation in these outdoor activities, close to where people live and work, is an important component of promoting healthy lifestyles for residents of an area.

Kildare County Council will keep the public updated as works to the proposed Barrow Blueway progress.

This project is funded by the Government of Ireland under Project Ireland 2040.

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