Improvements to the N2 north of Ardee will be progressed as a major road project after Monaghan County Council, Louth County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland met to discuss the next step forward from a detailed safety review conducted on the road.
All parties involved in the talks have decided that a 36km stretch of the N2 from north of Ardee to south of the Castleblayney bypass will be progressed as a “major road project”. The detail safety review was undertaken by Monaghan County Council in the aftermath of July’s horror smash on the road in which three women from Donegal died.
Margaret McGonigle (69) from Castlereagh in Bruckless Co. Donegal, daughter Mairead Munday (39) and her friend Rachel Battles (37), both from Ballyloughan in Bruckless, died instantly in the three car collision that took place shortly before 1am on July 21st at Aclint Bridge between Ardee and Carrickmacross.
Of 22 fatal collisions that occurred between 2005 and 2013, 13 were between Castleblayney and Slane – with nine north of Ardee between the town and Castleblayney. Since January 2016, eight people have died on the N2 between Hunterstown just south of Ardee and Castleblayney.
Both county councils, alongside the TII, can now get to work on establishing a project team and bringing in Technical Advisors to bring the scheme from inception to the preparation of compulsory purchase orders and environmental impact statements. Approval will also have to be sought from the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport to proceed with making a planning application.
Only upon the completion of the work will the financial commitment required to develop the project be identified. In July, it was announced that funding was been made available for an online upgrade to the N2. The rate of fatal collisions on the single carriageway road exceeds the rate seen on similar primary roads.
Already this year, the TII has provided funding for minor safety improvements along the N2 corridor but the conclusion of the aforementioned safety review ‘pointed to the need for significant safety improvements throughout the entire 36km section of national road’. It is understood that long term work will include developing the N2 into a dual carraigeway. Officials have previously said it could take up to 10 years for the entire work to be completed.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie, Ardee Municipal District councillor Dolores Minogue said she was pleased to see this committment being made to the improvements. “I’m delighted that it’s moving forward. I’ve been working with Trevor Kerley and Fergus O’Dowd. It’s good for the people who live on that road and the road users that it is moving forward in a positive way.
“It’s brilliant. We welcome it,” she added. Minogue also says residents on the border between Louth and Monaghan have expressed their concerns over who will be responsible for the project. But the councillor maintains Louth and Monaghan will come together.
“They will share the border responsibilities,” she said. “Whatever works being being will be a joint operation. It won’t just be left to one authority. It will be a joint venture on all works.”