Selected bypass route 'the only show in town'
THE selected route for the proposed Listowel Bypass is 'the only show in town' according to Kerry's senior planner Paul Stack, who this week predicted that the project will change the town dramatically for the better if it goes ahead.
The preferred route, which will take traffic around the outskirts of the town from the Finuge junction, on a new bridge over the River Feale and onto the John B Keane Road, is 'the only way forward' he said, as he encouraged locals and the public at large to get behind the project.
Mr Stack was speaking at a meeting of the Listowel Municipal District council on Monday, which heard that the Kerry National Roads Design Office is anticipating an opening date of 2017 for the new road.
Tracey Smith of the design office told the meeting that 60 acres still need to be acquired from 64 land owners along the route, adding that only 10 of those parcels of land were greater than an acre. While admitting that 'not everybody is happy' with the plans, she said the designers are endeavouring to address their concerns.
Ms Smith said that the use of the John B Keane Road would not only cut the cost of the €27 million project dramatically, but it would also allow multiple access points to the town. She said that even with the addition of bypass traffic, the existing John B Keane road would still be operating at only 25 - 50 per cent capacity.
The benefits of the bypass, she said, were numerous - including a near halving of the traiffic that currently clogs the town centre, the ability to accommodate festivals, race week and match traffic and the ability to close off the Square during peak festival times without disrupting traffic.
Paul Stack described the project as critical for the future of Listowel, telling members that there simply is no other option on the table.
"This is a critical juncture fort the future of Listowel and the route chosen is the only show in town. There have been a lot of rumours about alternative routes but there is no other show in town from a cost or environmental perspective," he said.
"Now we need the support of our elected members and the public to get this done and the next six to nine months will tell it all for Listowel. This will change the town dramatically - the development of this bypass for the town will make it."