I thank the Senator. However, this is only the first phase of reopening the corridor which runs as far as Claremorris. The immediate next step, following completion of phase 1, will be for Iarnród Éireann to undertake a detailed evaluation of phases 2 and 3 with a view to arriving at precise costs to undertake the works. Following this, the Minister for Transport will seek to progress planning of these phases to ensure we can move speedily to construction at the earliest date once financial circumstances permit.
The corridor is only one element of the investment being delivered to enhance transport infrastructure in the west. More than €1.4 billion has been invested in national roads in the region since 2000. Despite the slowdown in the economy, more than €180 million will be spent this year on improving and maintaining the region's national road infrastructure. The beneficial impact of this investment is evident throughout the region in the elimination of major traffic bottlenecks, leading to shorter journey times and greater journey time certainty as well as to greater economic competitiveness, road safety and an improved quality of life for all.
Work is continuing on the last part of the Dublin-Galway major inter-urban route on the N6 between Ballinasloe and Galway city, which was temporarily brought into service following the recent flooding. Phase 2 of the Limerick southern ring road is nearing completion and work is ongoing on the N18 Gort-Crusheen bypass which forms part of the Atlantic road corridor. More than €100 million will be invested this year in non-national roads in the west. This covers a wide range of projects, including such major works as the Shannon crossing, the R336 Connemara access road, the Athenry northern relief road and the western distributor road in Sligo. In addition, the Minister is providing funding for an array of smaller but significant projects under Smarter Travel, Ireland's new sustainable transport policy, which he launched last February. The west has benefited through a number of Smarter Travel schemes which the Minister agreed to support pending the establishment of new sustainability funds. These include cycling and walking projects in counties Galway and Mayo as well as measures to promote bus travel and smaller sustainable transport projects in counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
I look forward to the commencement of rail services between Ennis and Athenry as soon as possible in the new year. While the closure of the line in the mid-1970s represented the start of a challenging period for Ireland socially and economically, the opening of the line represents our confidence and commitment to a more prosperous future, notwithstanding the current difficult times. It is fortunate that the land was preserved which meant no land purchase or compensation costs were incurred. That made the project more viable. The prospects for building further phases depend very much on the success of the phases that are open. I have used the Limerick-Ennis line on a number of occasions and it has proved successful, the only fly in the ointment being the flooding problems. If the Ennis-Galway phase is successful, that will encourage people to proceed further.
Notwithstanding my earlier comments about roads investment, the railway takes people to Eyre Square in the heart of Galway city and no road can achieve that, particularly at peak commuter times. I welcome the reconnecting of the rail network. There will be knock-on benefits for the Limerick-Waterford line which has been under threat for some time and in which I have an interest. People will want to travel from further afield to Galway and they will be able to do so by rail. Rail is an efficient method of travel. I can spend time reading and working which I cannot do to the same extent travelling by road. It is environmentally friendly and I hope the corridor will be a further element in the renaissance of rail. The Cork-Midleton spur recently opened and the link between Dunboyne and Dublin city is also being built, with a second phase to Navan due. I will give my support to the corridor, even to the extent of using it. I do not have information on the station in Oranmore.