The councillors from Ardee’s Municipal District committtee met with representatives with Transport Infrastructure Ireland on Thursday where they heard there is an eagerness from the body to get the Ardee N52 bypass completed – but no guarantees were given.
The meeting was told that the TII share the thoughts of the councillors in Ardee that the town is in need of a bypass to alleviate the chronic traffic issues that so plaque it, but the final decision on whether or not it will get one will fall on the Department of Transport and Shane Ross.
The meeting was chaired by Patrick Duffy of the TII and Louth County Council cathaoirleach Paul Bell and among those in attendance was Ardee Municipal District chair Dolores Minogue. She told ThisIsArdee.ie today that the meeting was a positive one, despite not receiving concrete assurances that work would commence on the new road.
“I mentioned that the lands have been subject to compulsory purhcase orders and the taxpaper needs to see a return for it’s money,” Minogue told us today. “They agreed with all of that in principal. The TII team are as eager to see an Ardee bypass as we are. From what I understand, Ardee is the only area that has planning permission for the road that is not on the [capital funding] list at the minute.
“I couldn’t emphasis enough how badly Ardee needs a bypass – from a tourism, economic and business point of view, for visitors and local people trying to get around the town. We are situated right in the middle between Dublin and Belfast and consequently we have massive amounts of traffic,” she continued.
“We have local traffic, access traffic and exessive traffic and we also have the issue of HGVs.
“The mid-term review [of the TII’s Capital Investment Programme] has been done and the TII has put in a submission that Ardee does get onto that plan. That decision lies with Minister Ross and I have requested a meeting with him through Fergus O’Dowd and I hope to get word on that in the next few weeks.
“The TII are eager to get it done – they didn’t promise a day, time or a year – but just stressed that they are as eager to get it done as we are. They said they are well aware of Ardee, they’ve been in it umpteen times and they know the congestion areas – they know the Kells Road is an issue, they know the top of the town is an issue and it’s in their interests to get this done.
The outcome of this meeting appears to be that another meeting with the decision makers – that being Minister Ross and his department – now needs to make place. Whilst for some, they may not seem like tangible progress in what is a lengthy saga, the Fine Gael councillor maintains that Thursday’s hour-long meeting in Dublin was a step in the right direction.
“It was a positive meeting. Although we weren’t given any specifics, it was still a positive meeting. I’m delighted that I pursued that meeting because it keeps the application alive. I’m delighted with it – but the bottom line is with the Transport Minister, Mr Ross,” she concluded.
The N52 western bypass project is ‘shovel-ready’ and awaits funding for the work to get underway. Previous correspondence from the TII and the Department of Transport has said that Ardee is next in line to make the Capital Investment Programme should a project further up the pecking order fall by the wayside. As of yet, that hasn’t happened.