THE CEO of Clare County Council has vowed to “pursue with venom” funding needed for a number of key roads projects in the county with Transport Infrastructure Ireland [TII], including improving the road to Shannon Airport and Blake’s Corner.
Pat Dowling has confirmed that there are ongoing discussions between Clare County Council and TII in relation to “a small number of key critical projects”, saying that the council will continue to pursue these projects with the national roads authority.
He was speaking at the monthly meeting of Clare County Council where the importance of funding to extend and upgrade the N19 road to Shannon Airport was highlighted.
Councillor John Crowe, who raised the issue, insisted, “By extending this small section of road, access to the airport would be enhanced and it would make easier access for traffic and pedestrians”.
He stressed the importance of improving the route.
“For people travelling from the south or west, they are driving on first-class infrastructure until the last few kilometres. It leaves a very bad impression. The road surface is shabby, narrow and needs to be resurfaced. I appeal to TII to provide the funding. We should insist this small bit of road is finished. It takes the good out of our airport.”
He called on the council to contact both TII and the Minster for Transport to demand the funding be made available.
Councillor PJ Ryan described the route as a “very important piece of infrastructure” and pointed out that it is the only access for traffic to the airport.
He continued, “If there is a major accident on the road, like a chemical spill, the road is closed and the airport closes down. There is a way through the golf links but it’s only access for those with a tractor.”
Councillor Gerry Flynn supported the call. “It’s an international airport, with one way in and out. It’s a dead end and it will be a dead end if we don’t have connectivity.”
Tom Tiernan, senior engineer with Clare County Council, pointed out that over the past two to three years the section of road in question was, in the first instance, designated a public road and more recently in 2016 was redesignated as a national road as, in effect, it is a natural extension of the N19, the main strategic artery facilitating access to Shannon Airport.
“Once this road was designated as a national route, Clare County Council immediately reaffirmed its view to TII that the section of the N19 from the end of the existing dual carriageway to the Knockbeg Point Roundabout should be upgraded to dual carriageway status to facilitate the future prospects and prosperity of the airport and also to cater for the need to be in a position to appropriately respond to prospective emergency situations in the vicinity of the airport. The issue was again raised at the meeting of councillors with TII in Dublin in November and will continue to be emphasised as a priority for Clare County Council,” he said.