A 5km stretch of the South East Greenway - starting and beginning in New Ross and incorporating Rosbercon and a 650m tunnel - will be lit, in a unique offering for locals and tourists alike.
New Ross Municipal District director Eamonn Hore said ducting is being laid on Cherry's Road for LED street lighting, adding that there will also be lighting on the Rosbercon side and along the Red Bridge through the tunnel, which will feature a series of animations.
Mr Hore said: 'There is no doubt but that to have a greenway lit up at night-time is unusual as mostly it's in a rural setting and people wouldn't be used to it. This section forms a 5km loop around New Ross which is a lovely length and is doable in 30 minutes. People will walk through an animated tunnel possibly featuring stories about the bridge construction and New Ross and Wexford engineers.'
The trailhead for the greenway, which is set to open in early 2021, will be in Rosbercon at the old railway station and Mr Hore envisages people arriving in New Ross and walking or cycling across O'Hanrahan Bridge where they will take the greenway around to the Red Bridge, through the tunnel, exiting at the second lane down from Mannion's farm shop having emerged from the tunnel, and back into New Ross via Cherry's Road.
He said the initiative will help boost the night-time economy of Rosbercon and New Ross town centre, while providing a fully-lit exercise route for locals and visitors to the area throughout the year.
Under district engineer Eilís Furlong, works have already begun on ducting along Cherry's Road in preparation for the erection of lighting.
The greenway route from Rosbercon to the Red Bridge will be cleared of vegetation and all sleepers and railway tracks removed this year once a contractor is appointed over the coming weeks.
The 24km route (in total) extending southerly from Rosbercon to Ferrybank in Waterford will also be cleared in preparation for the laying of a tarmacadam surface next year ahead of the greenway opening.
Mr Hore confirmed that three proposals have already been made to Wexford County Council regarding developing businesses in and around New Ross including for bicycle hire, a high end hostel and a food outlet.
Costing around €14m, the greenway is likely to have 300,000 users each year, the majority of whom are expected to be visitors to New Ross.
Chartered engineer with consulting civil, structural, mechanical engineering company, Malachy Walsh & Partners, Seán Breen sad the illuminated tunnel will be a very attractive feature along the route.
Mr Breen said the Red Bridge is in a very good condition.
'The deck has seen better days so a new pre-cast deck will be laid across the bridge. It's designed to be respectful to the cultural heritage that is there so it won't be invasive.'
New Ross Standard