Call for fast action on major new €150m ring road around Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The Council will shortly deliver an environmental impact assessment in connection with a major new ring road around the urban area

The Council will shortly deliver an environmental impact assessment in connection with a major new ring road around the urban area

LIMERICK City and County Council will shortly deliver an environmental impact assessment in connection with a major new ring road around the urban area.

The disclosure was made by council official Brian Kennedy on foot of a notice of motion by Fianna Fail councillor Joe Pond at this week’s transport committee meeting.

Phase one of the multi-million euro road plan is under construction, connecting Coonagh and Knockalisheen. But phase two is still awaited, with local member Séighin Ó Ceallaigh saying at present, it’s “a road to nowhere”.

The second phase will link Annacotty with Parteen, and it is hoped will significantly alleviate traffic around the University of Limerick (UL) and the National Technology Park.

In the wake of Edwards Lifesciences creating 600 jobs in Plassey, Cllr Pond said: “It is such a vital piece of infrastructure. Last Friday, at 4.30pm, the road traffic in Plassey stretched as far as the back entrance of UL. There are companies in the National Technology Park taking on 10 to 20 staff each week, and the traffic there is getting heavier, the tailbacks are getting longer.”

The motion received unanimous support, with Cllr Mike Donegan seconding it, and calling for a full update at the next transport committee meeting.

Metropolitan mayor Daniel Butler added: “I am constantly hearing reports of people taking an hour and a half to get to UL. That’s the same as from here to Galway, and it’s unacceptable.

“We need to be hammering this home day and night. We must keep this on the agenda until we see meaningful progress.”

Cllr Ó Ceallaigh criticised “faceless” local authority bosses who “blocked any changes to the plan”.

He was referring to a July 2015 meeting at which members rejected the road plan, after being told no changes were possible.

”It was like Theresa May’s deal on Brexit – we were told it was the best deal possible. We said it wasn’t the best plan, and we were proven right because after we rejected it, we came back with a better route connecting to the Mackey roundabout and the national roads system,” he said.

Businesman Michael Tiernan said bringing the project forward is a “no brainer”, and Mr Kennedy added: “We need the Northern Distributor Road to allow the capacity to pull traffic away from the city.”

He confirmed Limerick Council is working with Clare County Council and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with a view to putting together the environmental assessment.