By Noel Dundon
The preferred route for the proposed multi-million Euro Thurles By-Pass will be announced in the coming days, thereby freeing up hundreds of acres of land which has been affectively sterilised due to the planning process.
There has been a lot of pressure on the National Roads Authority’s Design Office to get the latest phase of the project through as it is holding up development in the immediate proximity to the indicitive line which has been drawn on the map.
Indeed, there have been fears expressed that the proposed relocation of An Port to the Turtulla area, and the development of the Tesco store could well fall by the wayside as a result of the considerable delays in making a decision.
The by-pass is seen as the project which will ultimately sort out Thurles’ congestion problems by taking much of the traffic out of the town centre. Indeed, a high percentage of the traffic going through Liberty Square doesn’t need to, but must, as a result of the street layout. With the by-pass in place, this would solve a major crux for Thurles.
The issue was discussed in full at a meeting of the Thurles area councillors in Nenagh when Cllr John Kennedy said that people in the town are crying out for a decision to be made so that they know where they stand. He was supported by Cllrs Seamus Hanafin and John Kenehan in his call for a decision to be made and said that there are fears for jobs in the town as a result of the delays.
Senior Executive Roads Engineer Mr Michael Hayes, informed members that a draft report has gone to the NRA in order for it to be signed off on. “They are now going through that report and I expect that to be back with us very shortly. We will receive a plan with a line showing which is the preferred route. The next phase then would be the committing of funds for the project and the Compulsary Purchase Order of land,” Mr Hayes said.
Offering the view that many of the large infrastructural projects under the NRA umbrella have been completed, Mr Hayes said that he hoped, smaller projects such as the Thurles by-pass, might get the go ahead. However, he had no idea if funding would be allocated.
Meanwhile Thurles Area Engineer Mr Ruairi Boland informed members that a contractor has been appointed for the construction of the bridge over the main Dublin -Cork rail line as part of the Thurles link road, which will connect the Templemore road with the Nenagh road. Much of the new road footprint has already been undertaken by the council, he said, and they are continuing to work on the embankments so that there will be no hold-up’s once the bridge is in place.
It is still hoped that the link road will be in use before the end of the year. Users will get onto the road through the Cluain Glas entrance on the Templemore road, and will come out opposite the Tipperary Institute where a new road layout will be incorporated.