Minister Chambers opens Safe Routes to School and Active Travel schemes in County Longford

Opened in Newtownforbes, Enybegs and Longford Town 

Press Release: 20 May 2024 

Longford County Council is delighted to welcome the opening of a Safe Routes to School scheme and two Active Travel schemes in County Longford by Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers. The official openings took place at Scoil Mhuire in Newtownforbes, in Enybegs and on the N63
Ballinalee road in Longford Town on Wednesday, 15 May.

The project at Scoil Mhuire Newtownforbes has seen the creation of a safe zone at the front of the school which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists. Speed control measures have reduced average speed at the school junction, while layout changes, include a dedicated bus bay, have increased visibility. The project also connects to an adjoining trail and loop around the village.

Funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) through the Safe Routes to School scheme, the project had a cost of €397,000. It was delivered with the help of An Taisce’s Green Schools, consultants CST Group and contractor Lakeland Civil Engineering Ltd. Special thanks to Scoil Mhuire Newtownforbes teachers and Principal Noel McKeon, Enda O’Brien from the local TidyTowns group and Green Schools Officers Lisa McDaniels and Nadia Williams.

The project at Enybegs has seen the construction of a new shared path to link pedestrians and cyclists from the village of Enybegs to St Teresa’s National School, which is around 800 meters east. It provides a greener and safer travel option for school students living in the village.

This project was funded through the NTA’s Active Travel programme and the NTA to a total cost of €691,888. Works were undertaken by Longford County Council direct area staff and by the contractors Lakeland Civil Engineering Ltd. Special thanks goes to the landowners who made lands available and accommodated boundary set back.

The project at N63 Ballinalee Road in Longford Town improves pedestrian and cycle links for the schools of St Emer’s National School, St Mel’s College, and Templemichael College and the three large residential housing estates of Ardnacassa, College Park and Ard Michael. It also links up to some of Longford’s largest employers.

This project is one of four ‘Pathfinder’ schemes that combine establish a radial cycling network along three main approach roads into Longford Town. This section joins up with the previously completed Major Well’s Road scheme.

The project was funded through the Active Travel programme and the NTA to a total of €1.8million. CST Group were the consulting engineers. The contractor was Priority Construction Ltd. Special thanks to the local businesses along the Ballinalee Road and St Emer’s National School.

Minister of State Jack Chambers said, “It is fantastic to be visiting Longford today to officially open these projects. The fact that three Active Travel projects are being launched today is a testament to the momentum of the Active Travel Programme across the country, which, by the end of this year, will see €1 billion of Government funding invested in walking and cycling infrastructure since 2020. The Safe Routes to School project at Scoil Mhuire in Newtownforbes will be so valuable in terms of encouraging students, parents, and staff to walk and cycle to school in a safer and healthier school environment. The pedestrian and cycle schemes at Enybegs and Ballinalee Road will also serve to encourage people to move away from private car use, particularly for shorter journeys, and consider active travel options. I look forward to seeing the impact of this infrastructure in the coming years and to additional projects being delivered in Longford, and across the country.”

Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Colm Murray said, “These really are excellent schemes, and it is great to see school children using these routes to get safely to and from school. It is also great to see the impressive infrastructure leading into Longford Town on the N63 Ballinalee Road. I thank the Minister Jack Chambers for coming here today, I thank everyone
involved include the local communities, the schools, landowners, contractors, and Council staff. I look forward to seeing more and more people walking and cycling on these Active Travel schemes.”

Longford County Council Director of Services Barbara Heslin added, “The Council is leading the way nationally in the delivery of our Pathfinder project around Longford Town, as well as with all our other Active Travel schemes. These new pedestrian and cycle routes help us and our children get from a-to-b much more safely. This new infrastructure is for the benefit of our citizens, our
towns and villages and the environment.”

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