Laois County Council have began negotiations with NAMA to buy the land for the Northern Relief Road Extension in Graiguecullen,
In a stark sign of the times, NAMA is now the major landowner through the area the road will go through, with just one other landowner to negotiate with before work on the new road can begin.
“The councillors passed the Part VIII last month. NAMA is now the major landowner and negotiations have started with them.
“We have gone through the budget and pared back what we can to make sure we can complete the road within the budget,” local area enginner, Orla Barrett explained at last month’s Luggacurren area meeting.
“We will be doing the work ourselves, which is a big bonus. We are talking with the landowners, and I don’t want to preempt what will happen there, but we would be hopeful of work starting this year.”
Councillor, James Daly asked if the €1.45million left in the bank for the road would be enough to finish the job.
Ms Barrett said it depended on the standard of the finish the councillors wanted, but there was enough money to match the existing relief road.
“We will match what is there already, we will definately have enough to do the road and a footpath on one side of the road.
“Our intention is to finish it off completely, and we are looking at ways of doing this, but obviously our main priority is building the road and getting it open,” she said.
Senior Engineer, Michael O’Hora said the councilors support had been “tremendous.”
“If the councillors hadn’t stuck their neck out and approved the part VIII, nothing would be done at all,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate you for supporting this place, you had the political courage to go ahead with just doing this extension. You have done a tremendous job,”
Ms Barrett added: “We are hoping to have a full and complete road in 12 to 24 months. The council are really enthusiastic and excited about this as a project.”