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O’Dowd: ‘Ardee bypass will always discommode some people’

Fergus O'Dowd TD
Fine Gael TD for Louth and East Meath, Fergus O'Dowd. Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

The construction of Ardee bypass may not begin until late 2021 or even January 2022, according to a timeline presented by Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd, who says that projects of this size “will always discommode a certain percentage of residents.”

A well-attended public consultation was held at Ardee Parish Centre on Thursday (March 5) this week, which offered residents along or near the route and from across Ardee to offer  their submissions regarding the proposed junction strategy for the N52 Ardee bypass.

Louth County Council say another, non-statutory public consultation will be held in June this year to allow people to have their say on the preferred option as put forward by the local authority and the TII.

Back in September, Transport Infrastructure Ireland that they wanted all further work on the €30 million Ardee Bypass paused as they carried out a review of the entire project. They, along with the local authority, are now actively considering alternative junctions following on from objections from locals that the current plans will create cul-de-sacs in some areas, cutting off adjoining rural areas from the town.

The project was due to go to tender shortly before the review was called for. However, Deputy O’Dowd believes this public consultation on Thursday was a step in the right direction while admitting it is impossible to please everyone.

“Projects of this size unfortunately by their nature will always discommode a certain percentage of residents, the key now is to make sure that any agreed scheme is agreeable by all and we can get this project back on track,” he said.

“I felt that the consultation was worthwhile, it has given everyone the clear facts on what is being proposed and gives ample time for feedback on the scheme.

“I will continue to prioritise this project with all the relevant stakeholders and whilst the current review is delaying the project, it gives everyone the opportunity to have their say,” he added.

He also put forward a timeline he has received as to how the local authority and the TII believe the project will now advance.

According to Louth County Council, O’Dowd says, another public consultation will be held in June to allow locals to have their say on the preferred option, of a number of proposed solutions put forward by the project leads. The local authority expect the new plan to go for Part 8 approval in November of this year.

Tender documents are set to be issued in July of 2021, with a contract finally awarded in October next year. It is then, work can begin. Work may began late that year, barring no delay, but it may be January 2022 before work begins.

Speaking about the bypass on Friday, Ardee Municipal District cathaoirleach Dolores Minogue said, “The people of Ardee have been fighting for this project for 20+ years now and it is clear that the need for the bypass is now more prevalent than ever before.

“Deputy O’Dowd and I will continue to fight tooth and nail to make sure that this project gets to construction phase whilst addressing the important concerns raised by residents.”

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