Harbour Street, Mullingar.

NTA allocates €4m for 21 Active Travel schemes in Westmeath

Some €4m for 21 Active Travel schemes in Westmeath has been announced as part of €290m to local authorities across Ireland for walking and cycling infrastructure in 2024.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, Minister of State Jack Chambers, TD, and National Transport Authority (NTA) deputy CEO Hugh Creegan announced the €290m this morning.

The ministers said the latest allocation means 2024 will be the year that the government’s total investment for active travel infrastructure since 2020 will pass the €1bn mark.

The investment has delivered more than 600km of cycling, walking and wheeling infrastructure since 2020 under the NTA Active Travel Programme.

The Active Travel Investment Programme for 2024 will fund approximately 800 new and existing Active Travel projects.

Among the Active Travel projects receiving funding in Westmeath are:

Saunders Bridge, Mullingar, €1,250,000

Harbour Street Active Travel scheme, Mullingar, €115,000

Athlone, Footpath and Cycleway Improvements for Six Strategic Routes, €730,000

The government say there will be significant progress this year on Active Travel Pathfinder Projects, as most go to planning, and construction will begin on those with planning, including two in Athlone and two in Mullingar.

Funding allocated to projects in Westmeath.

Minister Ryan said: “A key commitment in the Programme for Government and something that has been a cornerstone of our national transport strategy over the past few years has been the dedication to making walking, cycling and wheeling safer and much more accessible throughout the country.

“It’s great that this year we will hit the €1bn investment mark.

“We are seeing the impact of this continued and substantial investment in our towns, villages and cities, where we are delivering large and small scale projects that are transforming where we live, making them much more attractive, safer and healthier.

“Many of the most attractive cities and towns in the world are the ones that prioritise active travel and now many more locations here in Ireland can join this list of great places to live and visit.”

Minister Chambers added that funding of €20 million has been allocated to the Safe Routes to School Programme. “So far, around 50 projects have been completed under rounds one and two of the programme and the associated health and wellbeing benefits for children and parents are already being felt in schools in towns and villages all over the country.

“I am looking forward to seeing more and more infrastructure delivered at schools to encourage children and parents to choose to walk or cycle for their daily commutes, as well as the huge range of other active travel projects being funded as part of today’s announcement.”

Mr Creegan from the National Transport Authority said 2024 will be a milestone year for Active Travel in Ireland. “Building on the progress of recent years, the €290m being made available this year will ensure the delivery of cycle lanes and footpaths as well as pedestrian and cycling bridges across the country. All of these active travel projects will make it easier and safer than ever before for people to cycle, walk or wheel within and beyond their local areas.

“The NTA will work alongside local authorities to help deliver the projects which have been given funding and identify additional opportunities across the year that can help encourage people to choose sustainable transport modes.”