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Deputy Cathal Crowe (FF)

Taoiseach Questioned Over Delay Completing Coonagh To Meelick Road

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has pledged to raise Dáil deputies’ concerns over the delay in the completion of a €58 million major road linking Coonagh with Meelick.

Dáil deputies in the Mid-West are becoming increasingly frustrated with repeated deferrals for a date to start work on the final part of the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Distributor Road.

Deputy Cathal Crowe tabled a Dáil question recently asking the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan what is the status of the progression of Phase One of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and if he would make a statement on the matter.

Limerick Deputy Kieran O’Donnell told the Dáil the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Road in Limerick is one of only 13 projects specifically mentioned to progress during the National Development Plan. Furthermore, 30% of the project totalling €17 million has already been spent out of €58 million, with advanced works already concluded.

“Page 26 of the Programme for Government states the process of review of the National Development Plan and updating of the national planning framework will not frustrate or delay existing projects.

“One of these existing projects is the Coonagh to Knockalisheen road. The Minister for Transport, Deputy Ryan, is delaying signing off the project. It is vital. It was part of regeneration. It was introduced by the previous Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government.

“Is it a commitment in the programme for Government and will it be signed off so it can be completed?,” he asked.

Limerick Deputy Maurice Quinlivan recalled he had previously raised this issue with the Taoiseach and informed him Minister Ryan would meet representatives from the Moyross community the following day.

“That meeting with the Minister, Deputy Ryan, took place and there is only one word to describe it, which is disastrous. He walked into the Moyross community and told them what was best for them and did not listen to what they said. This road is critical infrastructure for the regeneration programme in Limerick.

“We are now in a situation where if this road is not delivered the whole project will be torpedoed. The community feels abandoned and totally disrespected and Minister Ryan, did himself no favours.

“It was supposed to recommence building in September 2020. This issue is on the desk of the Minister Ryan. The community are angry and fed up. It is a key part of the regeneration programme for the north side of Limerick and it will open up Ireland’s biggest cul-de-sac, Moyross. One can drive into Moyross one way only. This will open up the top of it and has the potential to make the area socially and economically viable.

“The Taoiseach said he would speak to him. I ask him to intervene personally and deliver this piece of infrastructure,” he stated.

Deputy Martin said he understood the deputies’ concerns about this issue.

“It is in the programme for Government that the review of the national development plan would not frustrate existing projects that are under way. I will certainly bring the views of the deputies to the Minister and will engage with him on the matter,” he said.

Minister Ryan acknowledged provision was made in the NDP for the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Distributor Road (CKDR), subject to necessary approvals.

“The current position in relation to the CKDR is that I am continuing to consider the recommendation from Limerick County Council regarding the award of the main construction contract for the scheme.”

Forming part of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road, this new distributor 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. 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 thirty months to be completed.

Dan Danaher

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