THERE was renewed hope this week that one of the country’s worst bottle-necks could finally be sorted out after the Adare bypass was included, along with the Foynes to Limerick road, in the government’s six-year capital investment programme.
But, even with funding, it is likely to be five years before any digger can move in to begin work.
No specific amounts of money have been allocated in the €40bn plan but Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan confirmed that €1.6bn of the money was earmarked for new schemes. The government, he said, had given a very clear commitment to funding a new Foynes/Limerick road and a bypass of Adare. And he challenged the opposition parties who criticised the plan to say which of the listed projects they would drop.
Tim Fitzgerald, senior executive engineer with Limerick City and County Council welcomed the inclusion of the two Limerick projects. “It is positive that these schemes have been identified as key priorities,” he said. “We welcome that.”
Mr Fitzgerald, however, explained that three of the four possible routes for the Foynes Limerick road would facilitate a by-pass in Adare.
However, Deputy O’Donovan stressed that, even in the event that the preferred route was not one of the three, the government was still committed to a bypass in Adare.
But the people of Adare and weary commuters will have to wait until the end of the year to find out which is the preferred route. The inclusion of Adare in the investment programme has been welcomed by the Adare Business Association.
“This has long since been a primary objective of the association,” its chairman, Andrew Timoney said. A bypass would reduce traffic congestion and enhance the Adare experience for locals and for visitors, he said.
However, given the complex nature of any major road project, it will be years before work could begin work on the new road or the bypass.
Mr Fitzgerald told the Limerick Leader that consultants had been appointed to work on the Foynes Limerick scheme “up to and including the statutory process” and this had been approved by Transport Infrastruture Ireland, formerly the National Roads Authority and funding made available.
But even after the preferred route is announced, he explained, there are a number of stages which must be gone through before the successful contractor can begin work. A spokesman for the business group Ibec welcomed the road projects, saying the Foynes Limerick road would help Foynes port reach its full potential.
“However, we are concerned with the phased nature of the proposals and the timeline for commencement and completion of the proposed projects,” he said. And he expressed disappointment that the motorway project linking Limerick to Cork had been omitted from the list.
“There must be no amibiguity about the by-pass for Adare,” Independent councillor Emmett O’Brien said.
The Foynes Limerick road including a by-pass would cost over €200m.