Some €2,545,800 in funding has been approved by the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, for a range of road improvement projects in the county. The projects will include cycle paths, pedestrian crossings and footpath upgrades. Deputy Ray Butler said: "This funding is very welcome, as it will improve road safety and make it easier to get around Trim and Navan whether you are in a car, on your bicycle or on foot. Construction will take place this year on the Drogheda to Slane section of the cycling route along the Boyne. This cycleway will ultimately link Drogheda and Trim, and will be a fantastic amenity for local people.
"Commuters who use the Bus Eireann's Athboy to Dublin service will be pleased to know that safety measures are to be undertaken at stops along the route. At least two bus bays will be provided, with locations to be agreed with the National Transport Authority, and footpaths will be extended to adjacent junctions along the route. In Kilmessan village, new footpaths will be installed. A new footpath will link the primary school and the north west outskirts of the village, allowing safe access for children coming to and from school. A new section of footpath and public lighting will also be constructed to link the village and the Station House Hotel.
Deputy Damien English said: "I am delighted that a number of projects have been given the go ahead that will improve access to Navan for pedestrians and cyclists. A new cantilevered pedestrian and cycle deck will be built across New Bridge on the Kentstown Road linking Market Square to the cycle network in the Johnstown area. In St Brigid's Villa and Parnell Park, a number of minor road safety improvements will be carried out, including speed ramps in St Brigid's and a yellow box at the entrance to the estates'.
"Elsewhere in Navan, a pedestrian crossing will be installed at Blackcastle to connect residential areas on the east side of the N51 to the existing walking route on the other side of the road. Local residents will be glad to hear that the missing piece of footpath along the Commons Road is to be constructed. Lighting will also be installed. This will make it much safer to walk along the Commons Road into town."
Fine Gael's Meath East deputy, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the announcement of €802,500 which is being made available to support smarter travel projects in Meath East, saying that the improvements will enhance the lives and the safety of people from Kilmessan to Clonee and beyond.
In Laytown, a park and ride facility for more than 100 cars will be designed west of the railway bridge to significantly reduce the number of cars parking around the station, which will make a huge difference to local residents.
A cycle and walking study will also be conducted for Laytown and Bettystown to help improve access to schools, local amenities, town centres and public transport. Bus stops are to be provided along the East Coast Route, with upgrading and remedial works being carried out at Donacarney School, Bettystown Village, Mosney Cross and Julianstown Village. Improvements will also be made to roads, paths and junctions at Ratoath, Kells, Clonee, Kilmessan, Carlanstown, Nobber, Duleek, Stamullen, Kentstown and Ashbourne.
"By constructing pedestrian crossings at schools, improving cycle and bus facilities and providing footpaths and public lighting where none currently exists, local communities will be better able to move around their localities in a safer and easier way," Deputy Doherty stated.
All of these projects will commence this year with the majority scheduled for completion in 2013. Where possible, people should be encouraged to leave the car at home and to walk or cycle to their destination. These projects will bring the realisation of that goal a step closer, which will have improved health benefits for the people of Meath. Councillors Nick Killian, Maria Murphy and Niamh McGowan also welcomed the funding, as did Labour TD in Meath East, Dominic Hannigan.