Fergus O’Dowd has criticised the failure to fund an Ardee N52 Bypass, insisting Ardeee will come to a shuddering and unacceptable halt if a bypass is not provided.
Speaking in Dail Eireann today, the Drogheda-based Deputy said he was “greatly disappointed” at there being no announcement of funding for the Ardee Bypass, after indicators suggested funding was set to be announced.
Locals in Ardee, as well as councillors and TDs watched yesterday afternoon’s Department of Transport Budget briefing with the hope that Minister Shane Ross would announce full funding for the long awaited project. But no such announcement came.
Instead, the Minister mentioned projects to go ahead in Sallins, Killaloe, Athy, Portlaoise, Dingle and Laytown/Bettystown – but no Ardee. Today, O’Dowd reacted to the news in Dail Eireann.
“I welcome the commitment in the Budget to the Laytown to Bettystown Link Road. This will commence as soon as the approvals are sought. I am disappointed that the Ardee Bypass has not been announced. It is something that is very badly needed,” O’Dowd said.
“The town of Ardee is going to double in size. The capacity of the sewerage system there is being increased from 5,000pe to 10,000pe and over the next number of years, Ardee is going to grow phenomenally and if we don’t have the western bypass of Ardee the town will come to a shuddering and unacceptable halt.
“People are very unhappy with this and I want to make this clearly known that that is the view of my constituents,” he continued. “It’s my view and councillor Dolores Minogue will be very cross until this is announced. She’s a very active campaigner, living in the town as she does.”
The TD went on to say he is “bitterly disappointed” the Ardee Bypass was not mentioned.
The N52 Ardee bypass 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 of 2016, 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 was earlier in the year on the table for discussion as part of the Capital Investment Plan’s mid-term review, meaning funding could be allocated this year. If that is to be the case, it was thought it would have been included in Ross’ capital expenditure plan to be revealed on Wednesday with €1.2 billion of extra funding for the Department as a whole over the next four years revealed as part of the Budget.
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.