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The N52 Ardee Bypass: What We Know

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A lorry makes the tight turn from Market Street onto the Kells Road. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie
The proposed N52 bypass of Ardee has been in the news this week. Want to know where we stand right now? We answer your questions below.
What is the proposed N52 bypass of Ardee?

The proposed N52 Ardee bypass consists of 4.48km of reduced single carriageway road and is planned to commence at Mandistown to the west of Ardee running east to Mullanstown on the N2 road North of Ardee. The scheme includes two river crossings of the River Dee and River Garra, a staggered junction at Silver Hill road and a T junction with the Mullenstown Road.

The proposed N52 bypass in black will stretch from Mandistown to Mullenstown. This map is not an exact plan of the route and has been made purely to demonstrate the approximate route.

 

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The bypass route ID is N52D1CM and when built it will be classed as a secondary road.

How will it help Ardee?

The road will take passing traffic off the N52 Ardee-Kells Road and away from the town centre completely. It is hoped the bypass will greatly reduce the large volumes of traffic in the town and thus alleviate the traffic backlogs experienced throughout the day, especially at peak times.

What is the current status of the Ardee bypass?

It is currently categorised as being in the planning stages by Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The Ardee bypass was not originally included on the government’s Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 but in November last year, the project was placed on the priority list meaning that if a project was to fall by the wayside, the Ardee bypass would be next in line to pick up the money available.

It is currently on the table for discussion as part of the Capital Investment Plan’s mid-term review, meaning funding could be allocated this year.

Has the Ardee bypass been funded?

According to councillors Jim Tenanty and Kevin Callan, yes. In a statement released to ThisIsArdee.ie on Thursday, the local Independent councillors said they had “received confirmation from Minister for Transport Shane Ross that the Ardee Bypass is to proceed and be funded following their efforts to secure investment, which is now being made available.”

The headline in the statement issued to us read, “Callan & Tenanty secure Ardee Bypass from Transport Minister Shane Ross”.

Callan went on to say, “We have been saying for a long time that Mid-Louth has suffered from a serious lack of national investment into projects like the Ardee bypass. Today is a great day for Ardee which will hugely impact on the levels of traffic congestion the town has suffered from for years,” he said.

Seeking further clarification, ThisIsArdee.ie has been told that part of the funding allocated to safety upgrades to the N2 will go towards the start of the Ardee bypass. ThisIsArdee.ie understands Minister Ross has assured the councillors that the mid-term review will bring positive news, with an announcement expected in September. The duo have confirmed they are “fully satisfied” multi-million euro funding is on the way.

Has their claim been disputed?

Yes. In a statement released on Friday, Declan Breathnach TD said that beyond €250,000 allocated to finalise contracts, no further money is available at this present time.

“Following reports in local media outlets where Councillors Kevin Callan and Jim Tenanty confirmed that Minister Ross had announced funding for the Ardee By-Pass I sought clarification from TII and from the Minister’s office. I have learned that an amount of €250,000 has been allocated to appoint consultants to finalise contract documents. This is the only funding that has been announced and I have received confirmation of this from both TII and the Department.”

“While I welcome this funding which is a clear indication that the development will go ahead at some stage in the future, the main funding for the development of the bypass has not yet been allocated,” he said.

What have others been saying about the development?

Speaking to LMFM on Thursday, Ardee Municipal District councillor Colm Markey said, “It’s been a vital issue for the people of Ardee over the last few years. The back up of traffic coming through the town has been a major problem for the town. Hopefully this bypass will make a big difference. You have to realise the N2 is one of the biggest roads in the country. To take that traffic off the street of Ardee will do the town no end of good. We’ve seen it before in other towns that were bypassed.”

On Monday, his fellow Ardee Municipal District councillor Tom Cunningham added, “This is very welcome news for the people of Ardee and has been a long time coming. Ardee was forgotten about when it came to the Capital Investment Programme so this is good news to have it included in the midterm review of the Capital Plan.”

“All we need now is a date and timeline for the project,” Cunningham continued.

His party colleague Imelda Munster TD – who has spoken about the bypass at the Oireachtas Transport Committee – spoke about the news on Thursday. She said she was seeking confirmation of the funding. “I am happy to hear that Transport Minister Shane Ross has allocated funding for the Ardee bypass. The project was excluded from the capital investment programme originally, and so it is certainly good news for the people of Ardee that funding has been secured.

“I have raised the matter of bypass with both the Minister for Transport on several occasions and with officials from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). A commitment was given by TII at a meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee last November to include the project in the midterm review of the Capital Plan, and I am glad to see that the Ardee bypass has been allocated funding as part of that process,” she said.

“I have written to the Minister seeking further information regarding how much funding is to be made available and seeking a start date and a timeline for the project. The local community has been campaigning for the construction of the bypass for many years, with many disappointments and delays along the way.

“The area has been neglected in terms of investment for too long, and so it is to be welcomed that this project is finally progressing.”

Have other bodies confirmed the progress of the Ardee bypass?

In the aftermath of Thursday’s announcement, ThisIsArdee.ie contacted Minister Ross’ office and the Department of Transport. Neither could confirm that funding had been allocated for the Ardee bypass. An official from the Department of Transport told us “no funding” had yet been allocated to starting work on the bypass and that the project remained at a “shovel ready” stage. Louth County Council have also confirmed they are as of yet unaware of any major funding allocation for the Ardee bypass.

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