Le­gal ac­tion over the Ardee by­pass?

QUES­TIONS RAISED OVER FU­TURE EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL IM­PACT TO THE BOG

Mid Louth Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By HUBERT MUR­PHY

THERE are fears that the com­mu­nity group be­hind en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns with the new Ardee by­pass will lodge an ob­jec­tion to it.

How­ever, Louth County Coun­cil re­mains de­ter­mined to start the pro­ject be­fore the end of the year, as it says per­mis­sion was given over a decade ago for the road.

EN­GI­NEERS say that ex­ces­sive changes to plans for the Ardee by­pass could lead to ‘sub­stan­tial de­lays’ in the pro­ject.

Con­sul­tants work­ing on be­half of Louth CC - re­spond­ing to a July 2018 sub­mis­sion by the Mul­lanstown / Coole Com­mu­nity group - say that the pro­ject could go to ten­der by the end of this year, all go­ing to plan.

In a 57-page re­port, they say the plan for the by­pass was ap­proved by An Bord Pleanala as far back as 2006.

‘Changes that are fun­da­men­tal to the de­sign or re­quire lands that fall out­side the CPO bound­ary or re­sult in changes that will re­quire fur­ther as­sess­ment of im­pacts can­not be in­cor­po­rated into the per­mit­ted scheme and will re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion in ac­cor­dance with cur­rent leg­is­la­tion.

‘Any changes that re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion and CPO will there­fore de­lay the pro­ject by a sub­stan­tial pe­riod. Typ­i­cally 15 to 18 months min­i­mum would be re­quired for a small scheme that in­volves a CPO process, and the po­ten­tial for an Oral Hear­ing to be called should the CPO process raise ob­jec­tions by landown­ers,’ they state.

The com­mu­nity group didn’t want cul de sacs on present roads and out­lined a num­ber of ideas, such as bridges and un­der­passes to al­low con­tin­ued and un­in­ter­rupted ac­cess to lo­cal busi­nesses on the Mul­len­stown Road and Ardee Celtic FC.

But the con­sul­tants be­lieve that the ap­proved junc­tion types are suf­fi­cient, based on up­dated traf­fic fig­ures, in­clud­ing pedes­trian and cy­cle counts, and that the pro­posed junc­tions are safe, ap­pro­pri­ate and ad­e­quate for the vol­umes of traf­fic dur­ing the de­sign life of the road.

The pro­posed N52 Ardee By­pass scheme is ap­prox­i­mately 4.5km in length, pro­vid­ing a by­pass to the west of the town and re­mov­ing N52 through traf­fic from the con­gested Cas­tle Street. The pro­posed scheme will be a Type 2 sin­gle car­riage­way and will com­prise of six road junc­tions, in­clud­ing a pro­posed round­about on the N2. The scheme will also in­clude two river bridge struc­tures, over both the River Dee and Garra River.

In rul­ing out the com­mu­nity group’s ap­peal for an un­der­pass, they con­firmed that the area is ‘prone to flood­ing’ and ‘an un­der­pass is not prac­ti­ca­ble as a tank­ing and pump­ing sys­tem would be re­quired to man­age sur­face wa­ter drainage as there are no water­course out­falls avail­able at the level re­quired for an un­der­pass.’

In re­la­tion to a sug­ges­tion of a round­about, they state ‘a round­about junc­tion would also in­crease the rate of col­li­sions. Both the ad­di­tional jour­ney time and po­ten­tial for ad­di­tional col­li­sions would re­duce the ben­e­fits of the scheme, thus im­pact­ing on the cost ben­e­fit ra­tio and po­ten­tially could weaken the busi­ness case for the scheme and im­pact on the fund­ing ap­proval for the scheme.’

They say a traf­fic sig­nal junc­tion would also in­crease the rate of col­li­sions.

It is feared new Ardee by­pass will have an im­pact on bog­land.

Signs have been erected around the Coole area

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