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A general view of progress to date on the now halted Limerick Northern Distributor road. Photograph by John Kelly

Key Clare road could take up to five years to complete

IT now looks highly likely a new distributor road to improve connectivity in South-East Clare could take at least five years to fully complete.

Residents in the area have been repeatedly disappointed over ongoing delays concerning the construction of the €58 million Coonagh to Knockalisheen distributor road, which forms part of
Limerick’s Northern Distributor Road.

The scheme was hit with a major setback last March when the main contractor, construction giant Roadbridge, went into receivership owing substantial sums to local subcontractors and construction suppliers throughout Clare.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has repeatedly come under fire over the delay in the completion of this distributor road.

The new road will provide an urban style carriageway between Coonagh Roundabout and Knockalisheen Road.

The first phase of the project, which cost in the region of €8 million, was completed in 2018 and the construction of the main contract is estimated to cost €35 million.

Along with the construction of the new dual carriageway, the scheme also includes for two kilometres of major improvements to Knockalisheen Road with footways, cycle ways and verges, one kilometre of minor improvements to Cratloe Road and a 0.6km link road to Moyross with footways, cycle ways and verges.

The development works will incorporate the diversion of live services including ESB, foul sewers, water mains, gas mains and telecoms and the provision of new foul and surface water sewer piping for Cratloe Road along with road lighting, traffic signals and other ancillary works.

The construction works are anticipated to take 30 months to be completed.

Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed news of progress on the long-awaited distributor road, linking Coonagh and Knockalisheen.

Limerick City and County Council has issued an update, outlining where on-site works and tenders are currently at in terms of their progression.

Key to this is news that a main contractor is hoped to be on-site by the middle of next year.

“I’m delighted to see some positive news in terms of the progression of this much-needed piece of infrastructure,” said Deputy Crowe.

“The main takeaway from the council’s update is that the tender documentation for the main contract is currently being prepared, with a view to having a contractor appointed and on-site by mid-2023.

“This is a timeline that I intend to keep on top of the council for, as there can be no further delays to this project.

“In terms of works already underway, Priority Construction Ltd commenced works a month ago on the Cratloe Road – this is due for completion by late-September or early October.

“GSN Construction Ltd are expected on site by mid-September to undertake fencing work – both temporary and permanent – which will take four weeks, while the council is in the process of appointing a contractor to complete the Ballygrennan Railway Overbridge. Those works will take six months to complete.

“Finally, the portfolio for new watermain from Coonagh Roundabout to the Moyross Link Road is to be put out to tender in the coming weeks.

“I welcome the progress that has been made to date and am urging the council now to keep on top of this and ensure that these timelines are adhered to.”

Clare County Councillors were told in a report prepared for the September meeting that Clare County Council has been extensively engaging with the National Transport Authority (NTA) over
the past while to ensure the inclusion of the LNDR proposal in the upcoming final draft of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS).

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