Laois County Councillors gave an 800metre extension of the Carlow Northern Relief Road the go ahead at last week’s council meeting.
The Link Road will extend south-eastwards, primarily through unzoned tillage land, from the existing roundabout on the r430 Castlecomer Road to a proposed new roundabout on the Numbers Road. The Numbers Road will be upgraded for approximately 400 metres from Meadows Way housing estate to the new roundabout, with some minor improvements to footpaths towards Chaff Street. The junction of Chaff Street and the Numbers Road will get traffic lights erected. The next stage of the project is land acquisition and preparing the tender documents.
The council had ringfenced around €1million for the road, which was due to be extended all the way to the Kilkenny Road, which included building a bridge over the Barrow.
But the council hit a stumbling block when the cost of a feasibility study was projected to be around the same amount, the M9 motorway opened in the meantime also, reducing the volume of traffic through Carlow Town.
The project was held up while the department agreed the counci’s new plan not to extend as far as the Kilkenny Road.
There was eight submissions or observations on the proposed new extension to the relief road. Bruce Fennell, Crossnenn House, Carlow expressed his concern about a large oak tree at the entrance of his property which was a ‘Heritage Tree’ and is listed by the Tree Council of Ireland. The Tree Council of Ireland made a similar submission.
The Council revised the realignment of the Numbers Road to all the large oak tree at the entrance to Crossneen House to be retained.
Cllr Padraig Fleming said he was very happy to finally see the road get to this stage.
“There has been major difficulties along the way, but thanks to the councils ingenuity we are able to bring it as far as the Numbers Road. Hopefully in the next year or two we will see machinery on the site.”
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Fleming said he would be asking the council to include a clause in the contract for a percentage of local people to employled in the construction of the road.
Cllr John Moran said the road would bring major changes to Carlow Town and Graiguecullen. While Cllr Ben Brennan described the council’s approval of the extension as a “massive achievement.”
Cllr James Daly said the councilors had been looking for this for a number of years, and it had been on the agenda for a long time.
“I know this is only part of the project, but I look forward to the rest,” he said before querying a number of aspects of the plan with Director of Services, Kieran Kehoe.
County Manager, Peter Carey, said it was a milestone.
“The elected members gave this a priority over a large number of years. It’s a major undertaking and we not have a funding challenge to complete the road.”