HOPES for progress on a by-pass for Adare were dealt a deadly blow this week when the National Roads Authority (NRA) refused to give Limerick County Council the go-ahead to begin planning for a new route.
A little over 12 months ago, An Bord Pleanala turned down the council’s chosen route, the Southern or Blue route. But in response the council sought permission to begin selecting a new route.
However, at Monday’s council meeting, the director of transportation, Paul Crowe reported that this request had been turned down.
As a result, the council will now have to amend the county development plan and remove the proposed route.
This means that planning restrictions that were in place along the southern route will be removed immediately.
Director of transportation, Paul Crowe spelled it out. “We won’t be refusing permission on the grounds of proximity to either route,” he said.
But he declined to be drawn on whether the county council would now be pushing for the proposed new Limerick to Foynes road to skirt Adare. “There is a process to be gone through,” he said. “The study has to be done on the Foynes/Limerick project. We have to see what emerges out of that. I couldn’t speculate at this stage.”
In his report to councillors this week, Mr Crowe said the position as outlined by the NRA was “most disappointing, given the frequency of traffic delay and disruptions that exists on the N21 at Adare.”However, he reiterated the council’s commitment to a by-pass in Adare and added that they would seek NRA support in examining what, if any, short to medium term measures can be brought forward to address the congestion issues.
Cllr Pat Fitzgerald has suggested that the railway line to Foynes could be used to relieve traffic snarl-ups. He has also argued this week that Limerick councillors need to link up with Kerry councillors to maximise pressure and ensure action on a by-pass.
Meantime, reaction in Adare to the latest knock-back has been one of deep disappointment.
“It is very disappointing,” Adare councillor Rose Brennan told the Limerick Leader. The NRA agreed with Limerick County Council about the importance of the by-pass scheme and also agreed that it was difficult for the council to keep the southern and northern routes open, she pointed out. Yet, they still hadn’t given the go ahead to select a new route. “This is their third attempt,” she said, adding that each one cost taxpayers’ money. “Every year I feel the traffic is getting worse and worse. It is desperate. And it is hindering business at the moment because people can’t park and sometimes delivery vans have to keep going.”
“It is very very disappointing,” Anthony Murphy, PRO for Adare Community Council said. “It is also very frustrating and it must have a negative impact on Adare. A lot has been done but the one thing that is holding us back is the traffic, people can’t pull up, can’t park.” The chopping and changing over routes down the years hadn’t helped, he said.
Hotelier David Fitzgerald, of the Woodlands House Hotel was equally disappointed at the set-back. “The by-pass is very important for tourism going forward,” he said. “At the end of the day, anything that slows up the process towards a bypass is very disappointing.” A route needed to be selected he said.