The Bilberry to City Centre Waterford Greenway Link was officially opened today (Friday June 2nd), by the Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. John O’Leary.
The new section, funded to the tune of €12.5 million by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and delivered and managed by Waterford City and County Council, links the Waterford Greenway from the Bilberry car park to the Clock Tower in the City Centre, as well as connecting it to the Waterford sustainable transport bridge due to be delivered in 2025 and the start of the Waterford to New Ross Greenway.
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “We are delighted to officially open this section of Waterford Greenway. The new link section will open up the route allowing walkers, runners, and cyclists to continue their shared journey right into the heart of the city centre and beyond.”
“It’s significant to note that this link will give users access to the Southeast and Southern Greenway networks and reach locations such as New Ross, Youghal and Mallow.
“Waterford is experiencing a renaissance. With work commenced on the North Quays SDZ an exciting opportunity lies in store for the city, county, and region as a whole.
“The city’s economic, commercial and tourism offerings will undoubtedly be enhanced, and the addition of the Bilberry City Centre Waterford link showcases the very best of the county as it traverses from countryside to city centre.”
Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said, “The Bilberry to City Centre Waterford link, which forms part of the Cork to Waterford Intra-Urban Demonstrator Pathfinder project will be extremely valuable to the local area as well as those travelling from further afield, and will for first time, create a seamless cycle link between two Irish cities.
“All of the best cities and towns in the world are moving this way – to re-imagine and re-design their centres as active travel hubs, by reallocating road space and by putting in infrastructure which makes it safer and easier for people to walk, cycle or wheel. This new stretch of the Waterford Greenway extends it right into the heart of the city and long the historic quays. This will be good for visitors but particularly good for local people and businesses, making it easier for school children to get to and from schools safely, or allowing people to stroll or bike into this beautiful medieval city centre to shop, and in time, to continue on by public transport, or by connecting greenways to other towns in the region.”
The Active Travel project comprised of the construction of 2.1km long and 4m wide cycle and pedestrian shared surface from the Greenway car park at Bilberry, along Bilberry Road, Grattan Quay, and Merchants Quay to the South Quay Plaza at the Clock Tower.
The new section includes 210 metres of two new cantilevered boardwalks over the River Suir at Grattan Quay and Bilberry Rock, along with a full overhaul of the pedestrian routes and traffic signals at the junction of Rice Bridge, while existing facilities on Grattan Quay and Merchants Quay car park see the addition of high-quality surface finishes, landscaping, and street furniture.
The construction was undertaken by John Cradock Construction Ltd. and comprised of almost 65,000 hours worked on the project, with 250 employed on the construction phase at various times across the project.
The sustainable elements of the project are quite prominent as the newly installed segregated urban shared surface has been finished with energy efficient LED lighting, along with approximately 350 trees and 900m2 of wildflower beds planted. 8,000 tonnes of concrete, tarmacadam, and excavated rock, which would ordinarily go to landfill, have been recycled for reuse on the site.
Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority added, “The National Transport Authority is delighted to have been able to work with Waterford City and County Council on this impressive addition to its hugely successful Greenway.
“This new link is one of 35 projects across Waterford benefitting from €11 million of Active Travel funding allocated by the NTA in 2023. The funding is aimed towards building a comprehensive active travel network that can be enjoyed by all.”