Traffic chaos is expected in Portlaoise next year when five primary schools relocate to a new purpose built campus on the Stradbally Road if a planned link road is not opend time.
Last week Laois County Council agreed to include access points for a new road cutting across a HSE field the grounds of St Fintan’s Hospital on their Local Area Plan. The road would link Portlaoise’s Dublin and Stradbally roads, alleviating the traffic jams that already take place at the Block road and Dublin road junction, beside the hospital.
However, the new road is unlikely to be built before more than a thousand children arrive for school at the campus off the southern circular road in September 2013.
Portlaoise county councillor Catherine Fitzgerald requested that the East Circular road be included on the LAP. She is urging her colleagues to push to get it built in time.
“We have to get the new road there before any schools open. The Block road is already a major problem. It is a great plan to go across through St Fintan’s, I believe we have to push it,” she said.
Cllr Fitzgerald pointed to the road alterations on the Borris Road, after the two new secondary schools opened, as an example of what not to do.
“It cost us a lot of money to try put infrastructure in after the schools were built,” she said.
The road has been in the planning for twenty years now, says Cllr Fitzgerald.
“This was originally the route planned that would come out at the Fielbrook estate on the Dublin road, with a roundabout there. There is going to be chaos on the Block Road, it was under pressure twenty years ago,” she said.
The road would link with the new southern circular route at Beladd on the Stradbally road, necessitating the demolition of two two-storey empty houses on the Stradbally road. It would run behind the Kolbe Centre and the Cuisle Centre, exiting at the Dublin Road.
The five schools relocating to the new campus are Gaelscoil Phortlaoise, Maryborough NS, Educate Together, St Paul’s NS, the Sacred Heart and Scoil Mhuire. Planning permission is due to be lodged for some of the schools shortly.