THE National Roads Authority has turned down a request to fund a feasibility study into building a link-road from Foynes to the N21, saying a business case needs to be made for any such a project.
At their April meeting, councillors were told that Limerick Co Council approached the NRA for funding for a feasibility study last October. “We didn’t get any funding,” Paul Crowe, director of transport services said. But he stressed: “A business case needs to be made to show the demand for this road. It is necessary to show there is a need for a strategic link.”
As things stand, Mr Crowe said, the N69 is “quite adequate” in dealing with the traffic on it. For a link-road to be considered, it would have to be shown where the extra traffic was coming from.
“If there is a significant potential, the port company should be coming forward and saying that.” Mr Crowe added.
Mr Crowe’s comments came after Cllr Stephen Keary (FG) had proposed a motion asking the council to seek funds from the Department of Transport and the NRA in order to begin work immediately on a route selection for a link-road between the N21 and N69 to serve Foynes port.
Cllr Keary argued that the N69 was inadequate as an access route to Foynes port but that a link-road to the N21 would open up the western half of the country and beyond.
He also argued that it would create a much-needed stimulus to the local economy by opening up a new West Limerick tourist route.
“It would help to make Foynes port a more attractive stopover location for cruise liners and thus increase tourism foot-fall and demand for daytrip coach facilties,” Cllr Keary said.
The link road was needed “to accommodate the future expansion of port-related industry particularly the strongly-rumoured opening of a €1billion mine facility in East Limerick in the next five to six years”, he added.