Ambitious plans for Mayo greenways are revealed

by Caoimhín Rowland

Mayo is set to witness a transformative development in its cycling infrastructure as plans for the much-anticipated interurban cycling connector between Ballina, Castlebar and Westport take centre stage.

This ambitious project, now under the stewardship of Transport Ireland Infrastructure (TII), promises to revolutionise the way residents and tourists traverse the county.

The vision behind this project, unveiled during a recent announcement by regional manager of TII, Kieran Kelly, transcends the mere construction of cycling lanes.

The interurban routes, as defined in the Cycle Connects draft plan for Mayo, go beyond the urban landscape, aiming to create on-road cycling arteries linking key settlements and destinations.

These interurban routes have the potential to evolve over time, possibly providing off-road or segregated paths running parallel to existing roads. This forward-thinking approach ensures the adaptability and longevity of the infrastructure.

At the heart of this project lies a commitment to local communities.

By connecting towns and villages to schools and amenities, the project seeks to curtail the reliance on private car travel, which would reduce road journeys, alleviate traffic congestion and help the county meet its climate targets.

One standout aspect of the project that has received the green light is the proposed route through Knockmore, Pontoon, and into Turlough.

This path will unite Mayo's three largest towns, promoting active travel within the county while simultaneously invigorating the local tourism sector.

The interurban connector promises an exciting alternative for residents and tourists to explore a less visited region of Mayo on two wheels.

County Mayo has been no stranger to cycling infrastructure advancements. The forthcoming construction of the Belclare to Murrisk route on the southern end of the Great Western Greenway further exemplifies the dedication to fostering a cycling-friendly environment.

Additionally, the extension of the greenway into the ‘heart of Achill’, including Keel Beach, highlights the commitment to enhancing the local cycling experience.

The Great Western Greenway itself, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, stands as a testament to Mayo County Council's pioneering efforts in driving cycling infrastructure forward.

The substantial financial backing, with Minister Jack Chambers allocating €2.3 million to Mayo County Council this year, underscores the government's support for these plans.