LIMERICK County Council is still waiting for the National Roads Authority to give permission to re-open the process of building a bypass for Adare.
The council wrote to the NRA in April, to get approval for the project but, the director of travel and transportation, Paul Crowe said this week, they are still awaiting a reply.
An Bord Pleanala turned down planning permission for a bypass last October although plans to build the M20 Limerick to Cork motorway, to which the by-pass was linked, were jettisoned in 2011 because of a shortage of funds.
Following the Bord Pleanala decision, the council sought clarification on the matter and in April sought to re-open the statutory process of selecting a possible new route and designing a bypass.
Unless the NRA gives its approval, the process will remain stalled.
This week, however, Fine Gael TD Dan Neville described the millions of euro spent to date on the non-existent Adare bypass as a “waste of money”. And he has slammed the waste as a disgrace.
Meanwhile, Mr Neville pointed out, Adare continues to be afflicted by traffic congestion and opportunities for growth and development continue to be lost.
“The total funding provided for the Adare bypass to date by the National Roads Authority (NRA) is €4.3m,” he said this week, a figure which would have paid for a by-pass when it was first suggested.
Moreover, he added, the €4.3m does not include any spend in the years before 1994 when the NRA was established.
Referring to the current impasse, however, Mr Neville said he was “extremely disappointed” with An Bord Pleanala’s decision, announced last December, not to grant permission for the by-pass.
“There is an urgency to remove a major bottleneck at the entrances to Adare from the national primary road which is used by over 15,400 vehicles per day,” the Croagh-based deputy said. A by-pass would take up to 10,000 vehicles a day out of the village, he pointed out.
“There is also a safety issue for those who use the roadway. The diversion of a considerable amount of traffic from the town centre would improve safety in the village and the safety of vehicles accessing through the village. It also would improve the enjoyment for residents, improve commercial business and considerably improve tourism in the village,” he argued.
The traffic congestion is also having a negative impact on Adare’s tourism product, which is regarded as one of the best in the country, he felt.
“Adare is internationally recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Ireland,” he said, “but the daily announcements on national and local radio regarding difficulties accessing Adare do not lend to positive promotion of the tourism product.”
It restricts the development of tourism, Mr Neville said, and therefore the economy of the region as a whole.