With planning permission and funding firmly in place, it's full steam ahead for the construction of the South East Greenway, the state-of-the-art 24km cycling and walking route linking New Ross, with Ferrybank, County Waterford through South Kilkenny.
Clearing of vegetation and commencement of a site investigation contract along the route will commence this month. This will be followed by completion of the tender process, with the main construction works to begin next summer. The South East Greenway is a joint initiative of Wexford County Council, Kilkenny County Council and Waterford City & County Council, supported by the local partnership organisations. The three councils have together committed funding of €5m towards the overall project costs of €13m, with a recently announced €8m grant from the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport providing the balance.
The greenway is to be constructed along the former railway line between Mountelliott and Waterford, crossing the River Barrow via the renowned Red Bridge and passing through the scenic countryside of South Kilkenny, before reaching Abbeylands and Ferrybank County Waterford. From there it will link to the Waterford Greenway via the proposed North Quays and Bilberry Greenway Projects, creating a 72km Greenway of regional significance spanning from New Ross to Dungarvan.
The disused railway line has remained in the ownership of CIE/Irish Rail since the discontinuation of passenger services in 1963 and discontinuation of freight services in 1995 and the company has now commenced negotiations with the local authorities to facilitate the development of the much anticipated Greenway. A proposal to provide a River Taxi service between New Ross and Waterford which would complement the Greenway and provide users with a unique experience for their return journey is also currently under consideration.
Several people have expressed interest in opening businesses, including an upmarket hostel in New Ross following the announcement.
The South East Greenway is scheduled to open in autumn 2021.