Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the funding of the N52 bypass during Questions in the Dáil. The Louth TD has also written to Minister Ross, to Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Louth County Council on this issue.
He called on the Minister for Transport to ring-fence the funding for the by-pass.
Recently a technical review of the Ardee by-pass proposal was announced. Transport Infrastructure Ireland raised the possibility that the current funding might be redirected to other projects while the review is taking place.
Speaking in the Dáil today Teachta Gerry Adams said:
“The N52 Ardee Bypass was first given the go ahead in 2006. This is an important project, vital to the economic well-being of Ardee, which is long overdue.
In the last 13 years there have been significant community, demographic, sporting and environmental changes which the plan fails to take account of. Local communities which will be seriously and adversely impacted by the realignment project have campaigned for some time for the original scheme to be modified.
The current proposal for the Townspark Road and the Mullanstown Road would result in them becoming cul-de-sacs and the Silverhill Road having a staggered ghost island junction. The Silverhill Road is essentially a narrow country lane which is inadequate for the substantially increased traffic it will now be expected to take, including school buses servicing the Tallanstown National School, Ardee Community Secondary School and the Ardee Day Care. The road is also prone to flooding.
In addition, the bog land between the Townspark Road and Silverhill Road is now a National Heritage area which seeks to protect our natural fauna, bird life and other wildlife. The current plans pre-date this development and no environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
After considerable campaigning with Louth County Council and the TII a technical review of the scheme was announced. The review is to allow the project team time to fully consider the issues, which include a National Heritage area. This is welcome.
TII also said that the funding for the Ardee Bypass may be redirected to other projects on foot of the review. This would be a grievous mistake. Ardee needs this bypass. This project has been more that thirteen years in the pipeline.
I have written to Minister Ross, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Louth County Council. I want to know how long the technical review will take? Will the review include meetings with the local community? And will the Minister give a commitment that the monies set aside for the N52 by-pass will be ring fenced until the review is completed?