THE Lisnagry / Annacotty Action Group say the announcement of the preferred route for the €100m phase 2 of the Limerick northern distributor road “defies all logic”.
On Wednesday afternoon, Clare County Council revealed the route corridor accepted by the project steering committee is the same that was put on public display in January.
Once completed, the Limerick Northern Distributor Road will connect Coonagh roundabout with the old Limerick/Dublin Road.
Phase 1 of the project will link Coonagh to Knockalisheen.
The route corridor for phase 2 extends from Knockalisheen, passes in the vicinity of Parteen and Ardnacrusha, goes to the north of UL before crossing the Shannon to link up with the old Limerick/Dublin Road at the Cappamore junction.
The action group say the road will cut straight through Mountshannon Road, Lisnagry.
It will do untold damage to a small semi-rural community and reduce the viability of a number of farms, they say.
“Therefore rather than creating accessibility and integration, it will have the reverse impact on the community.”
Around 100 houses are located on the road. The action group objected to the route on environmental, economic and social grounds and say there are huge advantages of taking a different route.
Mountshannon resident and action group member, Hassan Kaghazchi, was shocked at the news.
“After all the logical arguments we put forward they seem to be going for a route that doesn’t fit the purpose. It is the most expensive option and it doesn’t solve the problem at all. Now you have to go further away from the university to come back. It defies all logic,” said Mr Kaghazchi.
“Whatever the next stage of objecting is, we will have to take it to the next level. It is a misuse of public money,” he added.
The group contend 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.
They say in choosing the most easterly option the local authority had also favoured the longest and most expensive route.
“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 is already compensating the operators for a traffic shortfall,” say the group.
Punch consulting engineers were retained by the group in making a 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.
Clare County Council say the acceptance of the route follows detailed consideration of over 400 submissions, through a public consultation period which was extended by almost three months.
Tom Tiernan, project manager and senior engineer with the council said: “The process which has led to the identification of the preferred route corridor has been detailed and has endeavoured insofar as is reasonably possible to acquire the views of those who may be affected by the project.
“Once completed, the scheme will improve accessibility to the city from County Clare and will relieve pressure on the existing river crossings in Limerick City. It also will provide significantly improved connectivity between areas located along and in relatively close proximity to the route, and will facilitate the opening up of industrial, commercial, educational and employment opportunities and good quality access. In general, it will be a key foundation stone to facilitate balanced development across south east Clare, the north side of Limerick City and the mid-west region as a whole.”
The Limerick northern distributor road route corridor selection report was published on Friday.