The new Southern Circular Route extension in Portlaoise opened recently. It links the Stradbally and Abbeyleix roads. Photo: Leinster Express
A new road built to ease traffic from Portlaoise town centre is to get native flowers and planting to try and support biodiversity in the area.
Portlaoise Tidy Towns in conjunction with Laois County Council and Laois Partnership is embarking on a massive biodiversity project on the new southern circular road extension in Portlaoise.
The road opened last November and links the Abbeyleix road from O'Moore Park to the Timahoe road at Portlaoise retail park, pulling passing traffic and school traffic away from the town centre.
A contract has been signed to help plant over 5000 native trees and plants along the roadside and to create wildflower meadows and hedgerows and even a bee bank.
The secretary is Vincent Booth.
“This project is one of the largest projects of its type ever undertaken in Laois or Ireland. We aim to become more pollinator friendly and this will prove a significant step in that direction as we are actively engaging with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan” he said.
There will be “green walls” covered in ivy, ornamental pollinator friendly planting beds, and a managed bee bank on the new verges and roundabouts.
There will also be a number of pollinator themed art / sculptural installations to follow in the next phase of the plan.
“Already a very popular walking route we also intend to erect two water stations along the route with educational signs regarding the types of pollinator plants, shrubs to be used which will be native to Ireland,” he said.
Portlaoise based landscape architect Brian Gaynor of Green Pine Consultants is the chief designer and has been appointed project manager.
A local firm Absolute Landscaping led by John Burke, successfully tendered for the works, which are due to start any day.
Chairman of Portlaoise Tidy Towns is Gerry Browne.
“We have received fantastic support and encouragement from the CEO John Mulholland and all at Laois County Council, also Mark Clancy of Laois Partnership.
“This project has been a team effort from the start and it will prove to be a very worthwhile one for the environment and the town as we see these plants and trees maturing,” he said.
“It can act as a template for other Tidy Towns groups in Laois to get their verges and hedgerows pollinator friendly. Our aim is to make Portlaoise A Town in a Garden,” Mr Browne said.