Funding of €99,500 has been secured for the River Triogue Blueway Cycleway, an ambitious recreational project which will cost €120,000 to complete.
The Portlaoise Municipal Authority Meeting heard of the ambitious plans to open up the People’s Park and have cycleways connecting to the nearby primary schools.
Director of services Kieran Kehoe said the project was identified under the Portlaoise Public Realm Plan – a development vision for Portlaoise upto 2040.
He said there were many schemes included in the plan, ‘one of which was to open up the River Triogue’.
He noted that Laois and Offaly had received the largest national allocation of funding in category 1, of €1.5 million for the Slieve Bloom cycle track.
The Triogue project has received funding under category 2.
Under the enhancement scheme, a cycleway and footpaths will connect from James Fintan Lalor avenue, with an entrance at Rankin’s Wood, through the People’s Park.
The footpath will be widened, Mr Kehoe explained, in addition to the new cycleway.
He said they have got “landowner agreement” to allow the work, which will see the cycleway opened up to the three national schools there.
He said school children will be able to cycle all the way from O’Moore Place to the schools, with just two road crossings.
Design technicians and engineers are working on the design and construction of the project for the specialist tracks and cycleways.
“The vision statement is not something to be just talked about and put on a shelf and this is the first action out of that,” Mr Kehoe said.
“I am absolutely delighted with this project,” Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said. “Well done to everyone involved in getting the money… This will be a huge benefit to Portlaoise”.
Welcoming the news, Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said she would like to see the cycleway connecting all the way to O’Moore Place.
“I would like to thank our staff who have a great track record of looking for and receiving funding,” Cllr Willie Aird said.
“There is a huge awareness about cycling,” he said. People go from Laois to Dungarvan, and park their cars and go for cycle along the cycleway there. “They go there because it’s safe,” he said.
“This is something we can all look forward to,” the municipal authority cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Sweeney said. “It is going to be a great facility to have”.
She added that she would love to see the cycleway go all the way as far as Smith’s Field in the town.