*Photograph: Eamon Ward
EXPANSION AND ENHANCEMENT plans for the Shannon Town Trails will be determined by the final design approved for the Shannon Town and Environs Flood Relief Scheme.
Work is scheduled to commence in the coming weeks to improve and upgrade the existing tracked surface of the Shannon Estuary Loop with new information boards and signage to be added. This is part of an €18,000 allocation under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS).
Senior engineer in Clare County Council’s project management office, Seán Lenihan confirmed that a contractor has been appointed for the works.
An assessment of the river walk had been sought by Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) plus the introduction with a work schedule on its upgrade. “This scenic walk is used by a considerable amount of people,” he highlighted.
Lenihan agreed that the Shannon River Walk was “a fantastic amenity” for the local community and visitors, “everything should be done to improve it where possible”.
Long-term plans for its expansion and enhancement are contingent on the final design for the Shannon Town and Environs Flood Relief Scheme. “If the preferred option involves raising, widening and strengthening of the embankments, we have instructed our design team to consider and incorporate where possible, measures to upgrade the walk. Dependent on ground conditions and flood patterns, it may be necessary to construct a sheet pile wall in some areas. Consequently, this will require a different solution to extend and enhance a walkway in the area,” Lenihan explained.
He said that the Council was committed to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities in the area. TII’s €100k allocation for Greenway/Blueway projects has resulted in a preliminary scoping meeting and site visit with Roughan O’Donovan Consulting Engineers for the Shannon projects.
Speaking at the May meeting of the Shannon MD, Cllr Flynn stressed, “it is important that the particular walk is recognised, if you go back to the Cliff Walk in Kilkee it could be described as superior because it is very well maintained and used”. He continued, “In Shannon, there doesn’t seem to be a big budget for the River Walk but there are a hell of a lot of people coming to Shannon to use it, we need the necessary infrastructure in Shannon”.
Success of the Illaunmanagh Parkrun has increased the use of the route but also “highlighted interesting things,” Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) commented while supporting the motion.