Saturday 20 July 2019

'Meagre' funds for under-pressure N11

€100,000 allocated by TII for 2018 despite call for serious upgrade

Rush hour traffic on the N11
Rush hour traffic on the N11

Mary Fogarty

The N11 has received an allocation of just €100,000 in this year's Transport Infrastructure Ireland funding, despite a report last year recommending substantial works.

In a report last April, TII said that the road is at capacity, and requires another lane between the M50 and Kilmacanogue.

In total, Co Wicklow has been allocated €3.7 million by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). Meanwhile Co Kildare received €26.5 million and Co Meath €35.9 million.

The only funding for N11 improvements included in the 2018 allocation is €100,000 for the N11 Kilmacanogue parallel service road. The works at Kilmacanogue will address safe access to and from the petrol station on the southbound lane. The remaining money will go to pavement works county-wide, maintenance and engineering on national primary and secondary roads, and a number of minor projects on the N81 at Hangmans Bond, Irishtown, Knockroe Bend, Tuckmill and Whitestown Lower, to the value of €65,000.

A report by Transport Infrastructure Ireland last April revealed that there is a shortfall in the existing capacity of the M11/N11. The study said that capacity will need to be increased as far south as junction eight (Kilmacanogue) to cater for current and projected traffic demands. South of Kilmacanogue and as far as Coyne''s Cross, there is no need to increase capacity, but to brinto to bring this section of the corridor up to the required standard, existing direct access and left on/left off junctions should be closed or reconfigured, according to the report.

Upgrades are also needed to access between junctions and the regional roads. These will strengthen provision for public transport and walking and cycling trips and also provide alternative route options for short trips and in the event of incidents occurring on the M11/N11.

The recommended strategy has a number of phases, including one-way service roads north of junction eight; upgrading the M11 to three lanes; three lanes to Kilmacanogue, and junction improvements as far as Coyne's Cross. The report also recommended an additional bridge across the River Dargle.

'Anyone that commutes to Dublin on the N11 knows that the road is becoming more and more congested and journey times are increasing significantly,' said Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, who described as 'meagre' the funding allocation. 'This, combined with the fact that people are being forced to live further and further away from their workplaces due to rising house prices, means that it is imperative that the Government invest in this critical piece of infrastructure.'

A TII study of the N11 last year stated that 'any further delay in investment in this section of the M11/N11 will lead to further increases in congestion along the corridor; and will further constrain growth in the north and east of Wicklow and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area, as a result of competitiveness and productivity.' Cllr Whitmore said that it beggars belief that investment is not forthcoming. 'The N11 requires its promised third lane and it requires it without delay,' she said.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly said that transport minister Shane Ross and the Government are 'asleep at the wheel' when it comes to the N11.

Deputy Donnelly received a letter from TII in December in response to his parliamentary question regarding their report on the M11/N11.

'A strategic study of the M11/N1 corridor, from the junction with the M50 to junction 14 at the Cullenmore, was recently undertaken by TII, working closely with Wicklow County Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and the National Transport Authority,' wrote the TII. 'The study provides an overview of upgrades required on this section of road.

'Notwithstanding that the scheme does not feature in the government's current capital investment plan, it is the intention of TII to add the scheme to the pipeline of schemes at the planning stage. In this regard, consultants are being procured to prepare the design and statutory documentation for the scheme elements, as well as to prepare the business case.'

'Because of the lack of public transport options, commuters have no choice, the N11 is regularly at a standstill by 7 a.m.,' said Deputy Donnelly. 'The TII have confirmed to me that design and statutory documentation for the scheme is about to start. We will shortly have all of the pieces needed to proceed with the project in place, but no funding. Deputy Donnelly remarked that plans to develop a sports campus and new homes at Fassaroe will not proceed without an upgrade to the N11.

Bray People