€320k spend on Duleek - or save it for a bypass?
Duleek is facing a dilemma - use a pot of €320,000 to carry out extensive safety measures and upgrades on the main street, or channel the finances into the initial stages of a bypass for the village.
And some local councillors fear if the money is spent on the improvements, it will drastically lessen the chances of getting a bypass
There is also a belief that the works will crumble over time, due to the volume of traffic passing through Duleek and the funds will be wasted.
The first stage of trying to curtail heavy trucks in the area was addressed last Friday at the monthly meeting of the Laytown/Bettystown district.
The council was asked to produce a report, requested by Cllr Sharon Keogan, on a proposal to introduce a HGV ban in Duleek.
Official Dara McGowan outlined the route that would be taken by vehicles if a ban came in. They would travel along the R152 to Kilmoon Cross, adding 11km on the journey and risking trucks taking a 'rat run' at Boolies Little, which also has a bridge over the Nanny.
It was felt the ban should only come in to play when a bypass was built as a ban would create a lot of problems. The council are keen to see if the improvements on the main street will help the situation.
Traffic tables are being proposed on both sides of the village, along with a one-way system at the green.
For Cllr Paddy Meade, the need for a bypass is paramount. 'My concern is that as bad as things are, if Irish Cement gets the go ahead for an increase in its capacity, it will mean more trucks and things will get a lot worse. Are we going to spend money now that should go to the bypass. This might knock the bypass further down the road', he warned.
Cllr Wayne Harding said that a ban would increase traffic on rat runs but he feels a bypass is down the road anyway.
'The bigger picture is the bypass', Cllr Sharon Tolan argued. She questioned spending money on works that will be destroyed in 10\12 months, but felt measures were needed in Duleek.
'If there is a route for the bypass, shouldn't we go to part 8 planning?', she added.
Cllr Sharon Keogan said that the previous meeting had addressed the bypass for the first time in terms of planning. She said the citizens had to put up with these trucks and she didn't care if a ban would add 11km to the journey. She felt it would cost €3m to €4m to do a bypass and planning levies should pay for it.
Cllr Stephen McKee said he wanted the traffic calmimg measures in Duleek as there was a speeding problem by all vehicles. 'We can't wait 5 or 10 years for a bypass', he added. 'People have been hearing about it for 20 years and old people can't cross the road. We should not have to wait for a child to be knocked down.'
Cllr Tom Kelly said there was no reason why the enhancemrnt of Duleek should be delayed. He said a HGV ban should be discussed with gardai and that any planning application for Cement should state that trucks using it must go by Kilmoon Cross. 'A proper route should be a condition,' he remarked.
Cllr Keogan agreed to defer her motion on the ban, pending documentation that funding has been sought from the TII for a Duleek bypass.