Council’s road plan could save €1.75 m

A Government department has stalled on a plan from county hall which could have saved almost €2 million on building a new road in Portlaoise, a Laois TD has claimed.

A Government department has stalled on a plan from county hall which could have saved almost €2 million on building a new road in Portlaoise, a Laois TD has claimed.

Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley contradicted a recent statement from the Department of Transport which said that Laois County Council did not ask for money for Portlaoise’s Southern Circular Road.

“Contrary to what the Minister (Ciaran Cannon) said when I raised this matter in the Dail, Laois County Council did submit a Specific Improvement Grant application to the Department of Transport in September 2012.

“This application was for initial funding to enable a buyout of lands to proceed and enabling works to be completed. This would pave the way for a redesign of the scheme to substantially reduce the construction costs from an estimated €6.5 million to €4.75 million by avoiding the ESB 110kV station,” he said.

In May the he said the Council again made a submission for funds for the whole project to the Department.

Dep Stanley said the Southern Circular Route, connecting the Stradbally Road with the Abbeyleix Road, is one of the major road objectives in the Portlaoise Local Area Plan and will attract investment.

“It will reduce levels of commercial and commuter traffic through the town centre, provide a high quality pedestrian and cycle route and better overall access to proposed new schools and existing commercial and retail outlets,” he said.

Dep Stanley said the council has invested heavily, €13 million,in the Portlaoise Orbital Route which would enhance the town’s prospects of investment.

“Laois County Council is presenting a value for money, shovel ready project to the government. I am making representations to Minister (Leo) Varadkar again to request that the necessary funding is provided,” said the TD.

In June Minister of State for Transport Ciaran Cannon said that the road was not one of the 11 projects put forward for funding under a specific improvements grants scheme.

He said the council must prioritise

“The best use at this point in time is to maintain to an acceptable level the very long network of roads,” he said.