The last link of the Portlaoise Southern Relief Road will run from the Timahoe to the Abbeyleix road.
A new €6 million road in Portlaoise is set to begin construction within months, the missing link in a bypass of the town centre.
The final section of the Portlaoise Orbital Route has just been given the green light by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, allowing Laois County Council to go to tender for construction.
The 650 metre long road is expected to be built over 11 months, which would see it open by February 2019.
It will stretch from the Portlaoise Retail Park Roundabout on the Timahoe road, across ESB lands, to the Abbeyleix road roundabout at O'Moore Park.
A link road will join James Fintan Lalor Avenue beside Aldi supermarket. There will be a new roundabout at O'Moore Park, and side roads built for residents' access to their houses. It will also open up more land for commercial and residential developments.
The go-ahead follows a process of public consultation with residents, and Compulsory Purchase Orders by the council to acquire the land needed.
Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley welcomed the news today, Tueday December 5.
“This is good news for Portlaoise and the motorists who travel into it. The completion of the orbital route, at a cost of €6 million, to connect the Timahoe Road with the Abbeyleix Road will enable a lot of traffic to bypass the town centre," he said.
He expects it to help relieve school traffic.
"Much of the congestion at the 5 schools at Summerhill will also be alleviated as traffic can move on more easily towards the Timahoe and Abbeyleix Roads. One of the other benefits is that it will connect James Fintan Lawlor Avenue via Aldi to the new route.
"I have raised this with every Minister for Transport over the past 7 years as it is badly needed," Dep Stanley said.
The new road could mean that all heavy traffic will divert from James Fintan Lalor, right past the five primary schools.
In 2015 Laois County Council applied to the National Roads Authority to redesignate it as the N80, in order to get NRA funding to build it. Read our original story here.
Meanwhile Mountmellick is still awaiting any announcement of a bypass. It is over a year since Laois County Council said this was "a high priority". The N80 runs through the town. Read story here.