Portlaoise is motoring ahead with the final link for its Southern Circular Route, but the N80 will reach the same bottleneck in Mountmellick for years to come.
However a decade old plan to build a relief road for the N80 around Mountmellick is “one of our higher priorities” Laois County Council insisted last week.
Cllr Paddy Bracken is from the town, and asked about its progress at the September council meeting, after it was heard tha the new €5m road around Portlaoise will start before summer 2017.
The Director of Services for roads is Kieran Kehoe.
“We made a submission to Transport Infrastructure Ireland earlier in the year for our major schemes. The Mountmellick bypass is one of our higher priorities, but we have no further information at the moment,” he said.
A planning application for the road was refused in 2008 after residents objected to its location, leaving the town a bottleneck for heavy traffic.
Work on the final section of the Southern Circular Route around Portlaoise is set to start within months.
“Detailed design works and surveys are progressing. Liaison with affect and adjacent property and landowners is continuing. Subject to DTTaS funding, the scheme could commence during the first half of 2017, with a fair wind,” the council CEO John Mulholland said.
The piece of road will link the Timahoe and Abbeyleix roads across ESB land, opening it for development.
The €4.75m pricetag, including land acquisition and undergrounding ESB equipment, will be paid by the Dept of Transport.
The council wants to reroute the N80 along the SCR once complete.
However the TII has stated that it has “no plan to divert the N80 from its current route through Portlaoise at this time. The ultimate decision on road classifications lies with the Minister for Transport”.