Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly this Tuesday announced E42m in funding for the new bridge across the River Shannon at Ballina. The money will be made available under the Government’s Capital Investment Plan.
The project is currently the subject of a judicial review, which Minister Kelly hopes will be finished in a few weeks.
Once that is complete it is expected the local authority can start survey work and seek CPOs on land. The surveys should take around 18 months, with the work itself taking a further 30 months.
Minister Kelly said the bridge would be a massive boost to the area’s local economy and access to the entrance point to Lough Derg would be opened.
Minister Kelly said it had been an ambition of his for a long time to see a second crossing at Ballina.
“ We all know the problems with traffic in that area. This will see improvements from Birdhill down to Ballina. It will change the heartbeat of the area and give a massive boost from an econimic, toorist and social aspeect,” he said. The Environment Minister pointed out that the new bridge would not change the status of the present bridge, but said it would allow the local authorities to decide what type of traffic would be able to use it.
The news has also been welcomed by Deputy Noel Coonan, with the Fine Gael TD saying: “This is a project which has been long called for and it is great to know that the money is now available to complete this project. This makes it even more important that we continue towards securing planning permission.”