ENGINEERS behind the €100 million second phase of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road have selected the costliest route possible south of the Shannon, according to a County Limerick group opposed to the preferred route.
The Lisnagry Annacotty Action Group has already contended that the two corridors west of the preferred route would cost the state less in land purchases as the property in Plassey is already owned by Shannon Development.
And in its final submission to Clare County Council, the group says that in choosing the most easterly option - which is to cross the Shannon north of UL and join the old N7 close to the Cappamore junction - the local authority had also favoured the longest and most expensive route.
Punch consulting engineers have been retained by the group in making the submission. They argue that the route selected is the most problematic in terms of flood risk and submit drawings of the route under water during the floods of 2009. The firm submits that no site specific flood risk assessment “appears to have been undertaken to inform selection of a preferred route”.
“The emerging preferred route is the longest in County Limerick (2.9km) and therefore the more costly in terms of construction. Based on the overall length of the emerging preferred route combined with the facts that it traverses circa 1.75km through a flood plain and bisects Mountshannon Road, it would appear that either (the more westerly) route C1 or D1 would provide more economically viable options,” it is submitted.
And “no consideration” appears to have been given to any cost-benefit analysis on how proceeding with the road will affect the Limerick Tunnel - where the taxpayer in already compensating the operators for a traffic shortfalls.
“No consideration has been given to the cost to the exchequer in compensation payments to Direct Route, arising from under-utilisation of the Limerick-Clare Tunnel which will be exacerbated by the provision of a toll-free alternative,” the submission states.
And just as in Parteen and Clonlara, residents on the Limerick end of the road fear communities will be divided and dislocated by the road project. The submission from Lisnagry complains of the potential “severance of the community and the reduction in the viability of a number of existing farms” should the project go ahead on the proposed route.
“Therefore rather than creating accessibility and integration, it will have the reverse impact on the community.”