Opening of Royal Canal Greenway – Ashtown to Castleknock by both the Tánaiste Joan Burton and Minister Leo Varadkar.
Both the Tánaiste Joan Burton and the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar performed the official opening of the new Royal Canal Greenway Ashtown to Castleknock on 28th of June 2014. The project is a dedicated cycle and walking route Greenway along the Royal Canal towpath and it is part of the overall Dublin to Galway cycle route.
Atkins completed the Feasibility Study for the entire route within the Fingal County Council area (Ashtown to Leixlip) followed by detailed design and construction supervision of phase 1 of the scheme (Ashtown to Castleknock).
The project is a dedicated cycle and walking route Greenway along the Royal Canal towpath and it is part of the overall Dublin to Galway cycle route. The client for the project is Fingal County Council and the funding has been provided by the National Transport Authority.
Tony Mortimer, Director for Highways and Transportation Atkins, stated that ‘The Greenway is a very important addition to the locality, which will bring people into a vastly improved environment and closer to the natural features in the area. The scheme will eventually link to the greater Greenway running from Dublin city centre out to Leixlip and eventually to Galway and will serve as a leisure and commuter facility for cyclists and pedestrians’
The project is based in a very sensitive ecological corridor within the Dublin area. The canal corridor itself is a designated proposed Natural Heritage Area and the environmental, ecological and industrial heritage sensitivities of the site provided significant challenges for the development of the scheme design. The biggest challenge on the project was dealing with the habitats of protected species and minimising the impacts on those habitats. As an example, extensive habitat surveys were carried out to determine the presence of protected species. Bespoke design features were developed in consultation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Fingal County Council Conservation Department to mitigate and minimise the impact the scheme would have on bats in particular. A bespoke lighting system was developed incorporating automatic dimming and remote monitoring technology so that natural environmental conditions could be maintained at dawn and dusk when bats are most active and feeding along the canal corridor.
Darragh Malone, Atkins project manager, commented ‘This is a very exciting project for Atkins to be involved with. The overall vision from the NTA and Fingal County Council will ensure that the Greenway will be a major asset for outdoor recreation and tourism in Ireland while also providing a real “traffic-free” alternative for commuter cyclists travelling between Dublin City Centre and the Blanchardstown / Castleknock areas ’.
The new greenway route will be ideal for recreation purposes, providing an outlet for cyclists and walkers in the area.
Photograph (L-R): Darragh Malone project manager Atkins, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Mags Murray Mayor of Fingal, Minister Leo Varadkar, Paul Reid Chief Executive of Fingal Co Co and Tom O’Malley managing director of Atkins