A junction review as part of the proposed Ardee Bypass will go to virtual public consultation later this month while Louth County Council expects to be able to go to tender on the project – planning permitted – by next summer.
Louth County Council Senior Engineer John O’Hagan told the Ardee Municipal District meeting on Thursday (October 1) that the next phase of public consultation will take place in the middle of this month, offering Friday October 16 as a likely start date.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and public health guidelines, there will be no in-person consultation. The decision to put the plans online is also due to the design team currently being unable to attend any such consultation.
“Our designers are in Dublin and technically in lockdown and can’t come to face-to-face meetings,” O’Hagan said. He told the councillors that members of the public will have approximately a week or 10 days to review online documents. Consultations can be be made with designers via conference call.
A Public Consultation was held in March, at which 160 people attended and it is based on this process that the revised Route Selection Report and associated Junction Options Report will be put to the public for consultation.
Louth County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland had conducted a review of the funded scheme as they considered alternative junctions following on from objections from locals that existing current plans will create cul-de-sacs in some areas, cutting off adjoining rural areas from the town.
The council have remained tight-lipped thus far as to what junction selection has been decided on as a result of the process but councillors from the Ardee Municipal District will be informed on the decision via Zoom next week.
The revised planning application process for the long awaited Ardee Bypass is expected to commence in late 2020. This process may require a further Compulsory Purchase Order which, if required, will be lodged with An Bord Pleanála.
If the Board approves the scheme proposal and delivers its decision within normal timeframes, Louth County Council currently expects to be in a position to tender the main construction contract for the scheme the middle of next year.
A contract is likely to finally be 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 actally begins.
The bypass scheme is approximately 4.5km in length, providing a western bypass of Ardee and removing N52 through traffic from the town. The scheme commences on the existing N52 in the townland of Mandistown in Co. Meath and continues to a new roundabout junction with the N2, just north of Ardee.
The N52 Ardee Bypass scheme received planning approval in 2006 and land and property required for the scheme have been acquired by Louth County Council, as per the granted planning application. However, after the detailed design of the scheme was executed in 2018 and 2019, concerns were raised regarding the junction layout and the access arrangements of the approved
It was, therefore, agreed that a technical review of the approved scheme and junction arrangements should be undertaken so that the issues raised could be fully considered and in order to deal with other matters arising since the scheme was originally granted planning approval in 2006.