THE Junior Minister for Public Transport, Alan Kelly, has welcomed An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant the green light to the E40m new bridge project that will link Ballina with Killaloe.
The project involves a 2km single carriageway bypass of Killaloe, a 170m bridge over the River Shannon, and an upgrade of approximately 3.3kms of the existing R494 regional road in Ballina, in the townlands of Roolagh, Kilmaglasderry, Garrynatineel, Lackenavea (Egremont), Knockadromin, Coolnadornory and Gortybrigane, in County Tipperary, and Ballyvally, Knockyclovaun, Creeveroe, Shantraud, Killestry and Moys in County Clare.
“I am delighted with this decision. The granting of permission is another step forward in the provision of this much necessary bridge between the expanding towns of Ballina / Killaloe. We have made huge progress on progressing this bridge over the last two years and I look forward to that work coming to its ultimate fruition in the coming years. It is a piece if infrastructure that is totally necessary for the entire area,” said Deputy Kelly of Labour.
The decision was also welcomed by Deputy Noel Coonan of Fine Gael, who said: “This infrastructure is of strategic importance for Ballina / Killaloe, the Mid-West and West regions and will serve as an important gateway. This project is critical for the future expansion and development of Killaloe and Ballina and it will significantly boost the local economy. I will continue to apply pressure to my Fine Gael colleague, Minister Leo Varadkar, to address the scheme.”
Deputy Coonan siad the news came as a huge relief to people living in the area who had experienced traffic congestion for many years.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council also welcomed the announcement by An Bord Pleanala of its decision to approve the Killaloe Bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and R494 Improvement Scheme.
The next stage will be to appoint consultants to deal with further detailed design requirements, the tendering of the scheme and all subsequent stages through to the final construction. The council will pursue acquisition of the lands to which the CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) applies in due course.
Project manager Tom Tiernan, senior engineer, Clare County Council, commented: “It will erase the traffic bottleneck that has developed in Killaloe / Ballina over the years as well as eliminate the present dependency on the existing substandard Shannon River crossing at Killaloe in terms of its lack of capacity to handle current traffic demands. The project will facilitate the Killaloe / Ballina, east Clare and North Tipperary areas in its endeavours to develop further both commercially and from an industrial point of view. The scheme will also ensure that the region, including Lough Derg, becomes much more accessible and marketable as a tourism destination. Furthermore, the reduction in traffic volumes through Killaloe / Ballina will improve residential amenity in the community.”