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‘Where do we go from here?’ asks Smith on Port Access Route funding

The local authority say that every available avenue of funding for the Northern Cross Port Access Route will be explored, despite last year's disappointment.

Pio Smith
Cllr Pio Smith at Donors Greene. Photo Credit: Jimmy Weldon/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Louth County Council say they are exploring every possible avenue to secure new funding for the long awaited Northern Cross Port Access Route, after last year’s surprise failure to secure the investment needed to progress the project.

The local authority unsuccessfully appealed the decision not to grant funding through the Urban Regeneration Fund, meaning the project which would link the M1 north of Drogheda to Drogheda Port and in turn create new neighbourhoods and urban areas in land north of the town, remained on the shelf.

Louth County Council officials at the meeting confirmed that they are in the process of working together with the Department of Transport to apply for a Strategic Investment Grant, hoping to access money in the government’s ‘rainy day’ fund. Local authority officials hope to meet with the department’s technical team by the end of this month, before filing an application for funding.

However, success is far from guaranteed as these grants are reserved usually for brand new roads, whereas the plans for the Port Access Route have been in the pipeline for a long period of time.

The council also said that they would meet with their EU office also, to seek assistance in accessing new funding. “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve. We will try all applications to seek funding,” Senior Engineer John O’Hagan said.

Labour Cllr Pio Smith, who raised the issue, said; “Where do we go from here? Is there any other option than URF funding? When they rejected it first, we said could we show how the Port Access Route would enhance the town centre.”

O’Hagan did confirmed that if Urban Regeneration Funding came up again, the council would apply for monies for the Port Access Route again.

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