A massive €450m road plan which provides for a motorway bridge by-passing Adare, one of the country’s worst traffic bottlenecks, has been lodged with the Government, Limerick City and County Council has confirmed.
The project, has a completion target for 2026 when the Ryder Cup will be hosted at Adare Manor.
The motorway plan was demanded by the EU in order to open up access to the port of Foynes, which Brussels has designated a key maritime hub.
A by-pass of Adare, which is continually snarled up with more than 20,000 vehicles a day on the N21, will ‘piggy-back’ on the new road system.
Traffic will be diverted west of the heritage village which draws tens of thousands of visitors each year, via a 200m-long motorway bridge spanning the River Maigue about 1km downstream from Adare Manor.
David Leahy, senior executive engineer at the Mid-West Roads Design Office, who is leading the project said: “We have now submitted the business case for government approval, which we expect within weeks.
The plan provides for a 16.5 km motorway between Rathkeale and Attyflin on the N20 Limerick-Cork route. This will include the bridge over the Maigue.
A dual carriageway will run from Rathkeale to Foynes for a distance of 15.5km. In the original plan, this was set out as a single-lane carriageway, but the revised plan, now with the Government, provides to upgrade this to a four-lane dual carriageway.
Mr Leahy said as soon as they get the go-ahead from the Government, details of the plans will be forwarded to An Bord Pleanala and published. The plans which will include environmental impact and other impact statements will also be forwarded to the more than 200 landowners whose properties will be affected.
Due to the scale of the proposed works, it is expected An Bord Planeala will hold an oral hearing to decide on objections and other issues.
If planning is granted, the council will then move ahead with Compulsory Purchase Orders and enter negotiations about compensation to the landowners affected by the proposed roadways.
Mr Leahy said construction will take three years to complete and they would hope to have contractors on site in 2022.
Some funding will come from the EU and also from the special allocation which has been designated to assist with organising the 2026 Ryder Cup