TWO major infrastructural developments for the town of Ennis were unveiled this week with the official opening of both the €2.5 million Ennis Inner Relief Road and a new coach park in the town centre.
Up to 4,500 vehicles per day are expected to use section E of the Ennis Inner Relief Road project, which opened to traffic for the first time on Wednesday.
The newly completed 180m of single carriageway road links Station Road at Madden’s Furniture to Friar’s Walk and the Clare Road at Cathedral Court. The road also features new traffic lights at Station Road and Clare Road.
Ennis Town Council said the completed section of the Inner Relief Road will improve traffic flow to the town centre for customers and visitors to Ennis and will reduce traffic congestion in the Station Road and Upper O’Connell Street area of Ennis.
Speaking ton Wednesday, Mayor of Ennis Peter Considine said, “It is heartening to see that despite the current fiscal constraints faced by Ennis Town Council that it is still continuing to complete important infrastructure projects throughout the town. The completion of the Inner Relief Road will bring a range of immediate benefits, both to the local community and to those visiting the town.”
Ennis town clerk Leonard Cleary said the new section of the Inner Relief Road will complement similar road projects completed in recent years, including the Ennis Bypass and the section of the Inner Relief Road from Station Road to Francis Street, in further reducing traffic congestion in the Clare county capital.
“The completion of work on the Inner Relief Road project will be welcomed by motorists throughout the town as it will bypass numerous traffic bottle necks and vastly improve commuting time for users,” he added.
The road project is funded by Ennis Town Council, with a €2.1m loan approved by the Department of Transport.
The first journey made on the new road was to the official opening of the new 14-bay coach park at Friar’s Walk. The development forms part of the local authority’s strategy to attract new coach visitor business to Ennis.
The Friar’s Walk Coach Park, located close to Glór, features 14 spaces, on-site facilities and a drop-off/pick-up bus shelter 100m from the town centre. The free facility is also equipped with a water supply for coach washing, waste water disposal facilities, 24-hour CCTV monitoring and a drivers’ lounge in the nearby Temple Gate Hotel with CCTV and free wi-fi internet access.
Mayor Considine commented, “The council has been conscious of the long-standing issue of the lack of ample coach parking in Ennis town centre. Up to now, some operators have opted to bypass the town due to the lack of such parking facilities. Coach tourism remains very important for Ennis businesses and therefore, this development will provide a significant boost to the local business community.”
Ennis town manager Gerard Dollard stated, “Coach Tourism is critically important to the local tourism and hospitality sector. It is estimated that a coach of visitors can spend up to €3,000 on a short day trip of shopping in Ennis’ attractive shops, boutiques and restaurants. The council and its elected members along with members of the local business community have worked together therefore, to deliver this project as a way of facilitating coach operators with easier access to the town centre.”
Welcoming the creation of the coach park, president of Ennis Chamber Brian O’Neill said, “It is imperative that if we are to promote Ennis as a tourist destination town and a great place stay, shop and enjoy that we have accessible, available and convenient coach parking facilities in the centre of our beautiful town.”