Ardee Municipal District cathaoirleach Liam Reilly – and party colleague Declan Breathnach – have both welcomed the news that the Ardee N52 bypass is to proceed, having secured €20 million project funding as announced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross on Tuesday.
The news has been greeted with delight across all parties and stakeholders with the long-awaited ‘shovel ready’ project set to get underway in 2018.
Reilly was one of six local Ardee Municipal District councillors who attended a meeting with Transport Infrastructure Ireland earlier in the year, where the councillors explicitly expressed the necessity for the bypass to help Ardee’s flagging retailers by alleviating the traffic chaos that plights the town on a daily basis.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie on Tuesday, the Dromiskin-based Fianna Fail councillor said the announcement was well overdue. “I’m delighted that the news came today about the €20 million for the bypass,” he said. It’s definitely well overdue and it will be a great investment into Ardee and the surrounding areas.
“It will allow for traffic to be removed from the town to allow prosperity for the local traders. Ardee is very much a busy route from Derry to Meath, Kells and various other places. Traffic delays can obstruct business so this development will allow future expansion on the main street and by businesses.
He also feels that the news will act as a boost when it comes to developing a plan to attract major industry not just to Louth, but the Ardee and Mid-Louth area specifically.
“As Mid-Louth councillors, we’re aware that a lot of the businesses that the IDA attract to Louth go to Drogheda and Dundalk. Ardee is situated nicely between both towns on the economic corridor,” he continued. “The infrastructure is being improved and that will allow for further expansion of existing businesses but also maybe for a multi-national to arrive. That could allow maybe for further housing expansion and increased activity for business.
“This allow’s the council and the Municipal District time now to develop a plan for post when the road is going to be in place.”
All six Ardee Municipal District councillors have been vocal in expressing the need for the project to be funded and to go ahead and Reilly also feels that cross party support played it’s part.
“I’m delighted with the cross party support that this is getting from all the councillors in the Municipal District. This won’t just benefit Ardee – it will benefit Ardee and the hinterland. This will have a knock-on effect. It’s the potential for business and development. It’s a ripple effect.”
The Ardee bypass was among 11 schemes announced by the Minister on Tuesday afternoon. ThisIsArdee.ie understands that the Transport Infrastructure Ireland board met earlier in the day and approved a series of minor works throughout Ireland and notably, the commencement of the long awaited Ardee bypass.
Funding of €20 million has been secured for the project, with the bypass consisting of a single carriageway, including six road junctions and two bridge structures spanning the River Dee and the Garra River.It will start at Manidstown south of the town and end at Mullanstown.
Deputy Declan Declan Breathnach also greeted the news positively on Tuesday, saying locals will feel the benefit once the bypass is built and heavy traffic is diverted away from the town. He also felt that politicians working together – and not against one another – was vital.
“Today’s announcement is a positive development and I hope work on the Ardee Bypass project will proceed without any unnecessary delays,” he said.
“This project is badly needed in order to alleviate traffic congestion in and around Ardee, particularly for those who live in the area itself. It will also help improve road safety as heavy goods vehicles will no longer need to enter the town once the project is complete.
“I also believe this will help local businesses in Ardee as people will be more likely to enter the town to do their shopping. A lot of people are currently put off from entering the town due to the traffic congestion.”
Breathnach also referred to an announcement made by local Independent councillors Kevin Callan and Jim Tenanty in the summer, in which they made public that Minister Ross had informed them in private that funding had been secured and an announcement was imminent. At the time, the Knockbridge-based TD said it was an act of “verbal ejaculation.”
“I have been an advocate for this project for many years,” he said. “There have been many false dawns for this project in the past, including earlier this year when some local representatives claimed that funding had been allocated when in fact it had not been. Fortunately the funding has now been officially assigned and the project can proceed.”
Previously, Breathnach had stated; “All politicians and none want to see the bypass of Ardee. People try to take credit when really it is incumbent for all politicians – not to take credit – but to work together to achieve it on behalf of the region.
“The key issue for the listeners and the politicians here is to focus the mind on getting a date and a time line, post this €250,000 spend. I would be hopeful that this will happen. It is incumbent on all politicians to work together.”
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 was thought that the bypass would be announced as part of the Department of Transport’s Budget 2018 spend but that announcement came and went without any funding for Ardee – until Tuesday.