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09 Dec 2021

By-pass of busy Laois town and N80 road 'not a priority at national level'

By-pass of busy Laois town and N80 road 'not a priority at national level'

Laois County Council are appointing consultants to undertake a Strategic Assessment Report relating to the Mountmellick by-pass, Cllr Paddy Bracken was told at the Borris-Mountmellick meeting.

Farhan Nasiem, Senior Executive Engineer, Road Desing outlined in a reply to Cllr Bracken that the report is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022, and it will then guide the subsequent development process.

Significant pavement renewal works will be undertaken on the N80 between Mountmellick and Portlaoise in 2022 and 2023.

The matter would be raised at a proposed meeting between the elected members representative group and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), at a date yet to be confirmed.

In his motion Cllr Bracken called on the Council, in conjunction with TII and the Minister for Transport to prioritise and address with urgency a by-pass for Mountmellick and a major upgrade of the N80 from Mountmellick to Portlaoise.

Cllr Bracken said he was totally disappointed with the reply.

He said that the road was very narrow, despite it being a link to Rosslare and the west.

''It's not in the National Development Plan for funding. It's not a priority at national level.

''It's crying out to be done. It still is the bog road. There is a 20 foot fall away from it in some places. Every week there is patching taking place on it. It is a disgrace. The horse may have bolted but pressure can still be applied.

''I'm bewildered at this stage. It's been on the agenda so long.

''The whole infrastructure in Mountmellick has been neglected. Laois County Council needs to put its back into it. The emphasis has been put on orbital routes around Portlaoise,'' he opined.

Cllr Conor Bergin noted that €100,000 had been allocated for a traffic survey in Mountmellick. The results went back to TII but nothing had been heard of it since. It should have been in the NDP, he stated.

Cllr Ollie Clooney predicted that the upcoming meeting between councillors and TII would be ''a hot one.''

Cllr James Kelly said that TDs in the county were focusing on the courthouse and garda station in Portlaoise. ''We have two TDs in Government and a Super Junior Minister, and they were part of the putting together of the NDP. They have the ear of Department Secretaries. This NDP runs to 2040.

''We will not see anything on this for the next 18 years, I wager.''

Cllr John King said that elected members have to stand up. ''They have to stand up and be counted or else turfed out at the next election,'' he stated.

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