Laois has been allocated €3 million for improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure across the county.
Nationally, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has allocated funds to Ireland’s local authorities with a view to spending €289 million on walking and cycling infrastructure in 2022.
A total of 18 projects have been selected with the Triogue Blueway (€200,000) Father Brown Avenue Cycle Scheme (€235,000), Beladd Cycle Scheme (€73,000), Portlaoise Cycle Parking (€40,000) Dublin Road, Portlaoise Pedestrian, Cycle and Traffic Management Scheme (€55,000), and Portlaoise Local Transport Plan (€150,000) all located in Portlaoise.
The long awaited footpath to the graveyard in Stradbally looks a possibility as €300,000 has been granted for the N80 Carlow Rd, Stradbally Footpath Scheme.
The R419 Edenderry Rd, Portarlington Footpath Scheme is to receive €22,000 while €100,000 is going to the Cork Road, Durrow Footpath Improvement Scheme.
The Ballyroan Rd, Abbeyleix Pedestrian and Cycle Scheme is getting €34,000 and Timahoe Village Cycle Link is receiving €100,000.
The remainder of the funding is to be split between a number of county wide schemes.
These include: Light Segregation Cycle Schemes (€200,000), Low-Cost Junction Tightening/Pedestrian Crossing Schemes (€200,000), Low-Cost Permeability Measures (€150,000), Safe Routes to Schools Programme – Support Infrastructure (€100,000), Additional Outdoor Infrastructure (€350,000) and Footpath Improvement Schemes (€500,000)
While the Laois County Council Active Travel Office – Staff Costs are granted €191,000.
Laois TDs Charlie Flanagan and Sean Fleming plus Green Party Minister Pippa Hackett welcomed the news.
Deputy Flanagan said: “One of the consequences of the pandemic has been a greater emphasis on alternative transport which provides some personal health benefits as well as more environmentally friendly living.
“In welcoming these funds, I urge Laois County Council to proceed with the various projects at the earliest opportunity.”
Deputy Fleming said: “This investment being directed to Laois County Council will enable more people to walk and cycle in their daily lives, improving the quality of life and a reduction in carbon emissions as part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
“I am very pleased to see this investment by the Government for County Laois and this funding will support the provision of walking and cycling facilities and enable more of our journeys to be made by walking or cycling.
“I look forward to work on these projects in Laois commencing as soon as possible to allow everyone in our communities to enjoy and have access to safer routes whether it’s for their travel to work , school or to exercise in their local areas.”
Minister Hackett said: “This funding is designed to make life easier for pedestrians and safer for cyclists while reducing traffic in our towns and villages.
“In particular, it will make it easier for those with mobility aids or buggies. Good footpaths and dedicated cycle lanes are essential if we are to leave the car at home more often.
“This continuing investment in active travel is a Green Party commitment in the Programme for Government and, again this year, Greens are delivering. Last year Laois received €3,283,000.
“Today it is to receive a further €3m. We are determined to make our towns and villages more accessible for walking and cycling.”