About the Project

Galway County Council, in partnership with Galway City Council and in association with Transport Infrastructure Ireland are working to develop a recreational trail which provides commuters and leisure cyclists with a corridor linking the city of Galway to the town of Oughterard. Once completed, the route will form part of the Connemara Greenway between Galway and Clifden, as well as the EuroVelo 1 (‘Atlantic Coast’) route, which is an 11,000km long-distance cycling route between Norway and Portugal.

The project will seek to provide both long and short-distance recreational users and commuters with safe, convenient opportunities to travel between areas along the route. It is anticipated that the provision of a greenway in this location will provide enhanced access to Connemara and will entice users to explore its many towns, villages and unspoilt countryside. This will have a positive impact upon rural economies and will provide the momentum needed for new enterprise and rural regeneration throughout the region. Furthermore, a resultant increase in walking and cycling activity will improve the health and general wellbeing of users and will lead to reduced car usage and the associated carbon emission levels.

Project Objectives

With reference to TII PAG Unit 13.0 – Pedestrian and Cyclist Facilities, investment in walking and cycling is a key policy objective of the Government. The National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2030 recognises the importance of active travel not only in reducing carbon emissions, but also in achieving other national strategic outcomes such as compact urban growth and balanced regional development. Other national policy, such as the Climate Action Plan 2021, the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways, and the National Physical Activity Plan highlight the multi-faceted benefits provided by active travel investment, including carbon emission reductions, physical and mental health benefits, tourism and improvements to accessibility and social inclusion.

In accordance with TII Project Appraisal Guidelines, objectives for the project have been established in the context of the following six criteria set out through the Common Appraisal Framework:

  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Integration
  • Safety
  • Physical Activity
  • Accessibility and Social Inclusion

In setting the project specific objectives, consideration was also given to the ‘Five S’ criteria: Scenic, Sustainable, Strategic, Segregated and lots to See and Do, as outlined within the Government’s Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways.

Following the first non-statutory public consultation in February / March 2022, a further review of the project objectives has been undertaken as we move forward with the options selection process.  With the availability of further information, the objectives have been refined with some minor updates.

The current project objectives are shown below:

Appraisal Heading Objective Sub-Objectives
Physical Activity / Accessibility and Social Inclusion
  • To encourage increased levels of physical activity among the local population by delivering high-quality, accessible and socially-inclusive walking and cycling infrastructure.
  • Maximise the local population catchment served by new recreational infrastructure.
  • Ensure that potential routes cater to all ages and abilities, and meet acceptable standards in terms of width, gradient, and surface type.
  • Facilitate access to community and sporting facilities.
  • To improve safety and security for vulnerable road users by providing a safe, segregated and attractive route.
  • Minimise potential interactions between pedestrians/cyclists and vehicular traffic.
Tourism / Economy
  • To develop a new ‘hero product’ for the study area with the potential to attract overnight visitors; and to facilitate multi-day excursions within the area.
  • Integrate with attractions / activities in the study area (“things to see and do”).
  • Ensure access to accommodation centres to allow for multi-day itineraries.
  • To support a transition to a zero-carbon society by providing sustainable alternatives to private cars along the Galway to Oughterard corridor for local trips.
  • Develop efficient and sustainable transport connections between the main settlements on the Galway-Oughterard corridor.
  • Facilitate access to places of employment, education and retail.
  • To minimise where possible the environmental impact of the greenway.
  • Minimise potential impacts on designated sites, protected views and any areas of high landscape value.
  • Minimise potential impacts on sensitive receptors.
  • Provide environmental enhancement opportunities where practicable.
  • To contribute towards the creation of a national and regional cycle network and the EuroVelo ‘Atlantic Coast Route’ by linking Galway and Oughterard.
  • Provide a facility that seamlessly connects to other planned Greenways at either end.

* The Project Team recognise that the Department of Transport are currently in the process of completing a full update to the Common Appraisal Framework for Transport Projects and Programmes (CAF) which is due to be published in Q2 2022.  Once available, the project team will review the updates.

What’s Happening Now?

The Galway to Oughterard Greenway Project is currently in Phase 2: Options Selection, which is a 3-stage process.

  • Stage 1 – Preliminary Options Assessment
  • Stage 2 – Project Appraisal Matrix
  • Stage 3 – Preferred Option

During Stage 1, taking into consideration the previously identified constraints and the feedback received through the first non-statutory public consultation in February/March 2022, the project team identified a range of feasible options for the Galway to Oughterard Greenway. A Stage 1 Preliminary Options Assessment was carried out in accordance with the TII Project Management Guidelines, and the shortlisted Route Corridor Options to be carried forward to Stage 2 were identified and presented at the second non-statutory public consultation in June/July 2022.

The Stage 2 Project Appraisal Matrix has now been completed. Indicative greenway alignments were developed within each of the seven corridors having considered feedback received from our previous consultations. These options have been subject to a further detailed assessment in accordance with the TII Project Appraisal Guidelines and Common Appraisal Framework. This assessment determined the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor, which is being presented at this consultation.

The project team now invite you to participate within the third non-statutory public consultation for the Galway to Oughterard Greenway, based on the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor.

Please see the Public Consultation Tab for more information.