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Wednesday 26 April 2017

Taxpayers to pick up €1m bill for scrapped bypass plan

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TAXPAYERS have been left with a €1m bill for a bypass plan that has now been abandoned.

Limerick County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) had devised a plan for a bypass of the town of Adare.

The town has been choked with traffic at peak times due to its position on the busy Limerick-Kerry national route.

Adare has attracted worldwide attention in recent years as it hosted JP McManus's charity golf tournament, which featured Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.

The original bypass plan was dropped, after €1m has already been spent, when a decision was taken to link the five-mile-long stretch of road to the proposed new M20 Cork- to-Limerick motorway.

It was considered unlikely that the original route would get planning permission because part of it had been designated as salmon-spawning grounds.

Limerick County Council defended its decision to draw up a new 'south' route around Adare. It estimated it would be at least €10m cheaper because it would require fewer bridges than the original 'north' route. It said this would more than compensate for the €1m spent on planning the 'north' route.

But local Fine Gael councillor John Sheahan said he believed that the bypass could have gone ahead using the original plan approved back in 2005.

"Had the project started, I am sure they would have found a way of tying it up to the new M20," he told the Irish Independent.

There are around 16,000 vehicles passing through Adare every day and various plans for bypasses of the town have been mooted for the past 25 years.

But it could now take another four years for the bypass to be built.

The revised bypass route, which was published in 2009, is currently being examined by An Bord Pleanala, with a decision expected in the summer.

Irish Independent

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