THE future of the Northern Distributor Road is up in the air after councillors decisively rejected plans favoured by local authority bosses.
At a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council this Wednesday, members were asked to approve a plan which see the €150m road pass through Lisnagry and Annacotty.
After Clare county councillors passed plans for the part of the route covering Parteen and Clonlara, the focus switched to Limerick’s council meeting.
But unlike their colleagues in the Banner, Limerick councillors rejected the route by 26 votes to three in a move described as a “victory for the community” by Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan.
The proposed route in Limerick would have started at the Cappamore junction, cut through the Mountshannon Road, with a bridge crossing the River Shannon.
It would then have proceeded at a gap between houses behind the Plassey Park Road before heading towards Parteen and Ardnacrusha.
Residents affected by the project argued that if the road is built, it would see the Shannon burst its banks more often.
They were also upset that if it was passed, it would sterilise lands around the proposed route, meaning even small housing developments would not be allowed.
And their arguments won the day following a five hour meeting at County Hall.
Cllr Sheahan said this proposed route is now “dead in the water”, and encouraged those behind the route to look at the Kilaloe bypass instead as an alternative route.
The councillors voted against the plans despite warnings from council transport official Vincent Murray that the city “will not grow to its full potential” if they are rejected.
Meanwhile council deputy CEO Pat Dowling urged members “not to lose sight of the importance of this project”.
And the architect responsible for the plan Michael Conroy said if the plan is not passed it would put any potential funding at huge risk. His colleague Tony Conroy stressed a range of scenarios had been looked at, and they did not believe the Mulkear River was at risk of bursting its banks if the road crosses the Shannon.
He said water would rise by just two millilitres. But Cllr Sheahan said: “I think there are wider options in the mix that have not been explored before.”
The other councillors present from City East - Cllrs Marian Hurley, Séighin O Ceallaigh, Paul Keller, Elena Secas and Mayor Jerry O’Dea - spoke against. They were supported by a majority with only Joe Leddin, Frankie Daly and John Gilligan voting in favour of the proposed route.
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