A NEW road from Limerick to Foynes would be “a game-changer” for Shannon Foynes Port Company as it aims to increase heavy goods traffic to and from the west Limerick port threefold over the next 30 years, according to CEO Pat Keating.
The port boss was reacting to the announcement that Limerick County Council is seeking consultants to draw up plans to improve road links between Limerick and Foynes.
This could involve an upgrade of the existing 32km of the N69 or an entirely new route. Other proposals have included a spur from the N21 north of Adare to Foynes.
Limerick County Council has in recent days sought tenders on route selection and design of a new road.
“The road link,” said Mr Keating, “is an absolutely essential piece for us. We have a huge opportunity to attract investment and industry over the coming decades thanks to the advantage that the estuary’s unique deep-water gives us. But we will not be able to deliver on these plans unless there is a quality transport network.
“Heavy goods traffic alone could increase by as much as 350% over the lifetime of our Vision 2041 masterplan. The N69 is inadequate as things stand, let alone with a tripling of heavy goods traffic. The development of this high quality road to connect Foynes with Limerick is, therefore, essential. Otherwise growth will be seriously constrained and opportunities lost.
“We look forward now to the selection of a preferred route in 2014, followed by the public consultation process and then the actual delivery of the new road.”
While a new road to Foynes could spark fears in some quarters over the future of Limerick Port, the company envisages that it would remain open to shipping