Highlands residents' traffic concerns raised
The Highlands Residents Association has voiced its concerns over proposals for a 661 housing project at the bottom of the Rathmullen Road in Co Meath.
They say that the area is already suffering serious traffic congestion - without, what they say, will be a 116% increase in vehicles.
The residents have made their submission on the Strategic Planning Application, which has gone directly to An Bord Pleanala.
They say the site is also historic on a world scale. 'The site which is the subject of this planning application not only forms part of the Battle of the Boyne site, it's one of the most significant parts of the whole site as this is the point where King William of Orange finally crossed the Boyne. It was here, on these lands, where William's forces (6 cavalry regiments) finally crossed the river and established themselves on the south side of the Boyne. Their success resulted in the battle significantly turning in Williams favour as the Jacobites desperately to fend off Williams cavalry,' their application states.
'It is our opinion that given the historical ramifications of this successful crossing of the river, this site is a de-facto national heritage site and must be properly protected under Irish and EU Law. No development can or should ever be permitted on this land and it should be held in trust by the state and turned into a national park.'
They also say the Rathmullan road is the only major road connecting the site in question to Drogheda. Currently it has to cater for traffic to / from Drogheda, to the local primary and secondary schools, local retail parks, industrial estates and motorway access for those travelling to Dublin.
In addition there is a significant volume of traffic coming from the west of the site, from Slane, Tullyallen, Donore and Duleek to access the local secondary school.
'The Rathmullan road already experiences daily gridlock during peak times, showing that it is currently operating beyond its capacity. We don't accept that even with the proposed junction upgrades this road will ever be able to support the traffic levels that this development would generate.'
The traffic survey done for the application also does not account for the forecasted traffic from the new development of 156 houses for which construction has already started in the field adjacent to Highlands.
They also say it does not take in the sheer volumes attending St Oliver's CC, with 1380 pupils and more than 120 staff.
'The flow of buses and cars to the school makes this a gridlock area morning and evening. Note that this traffic is not only generated by students of St. Oliver's, but also the school carpark serves as a pick-up point for bus services for students going to other schools around the town.'
They also say the volume of traffic at the Rathmullan Road - R132 (Bridge of Peace) junction would be unworkable.
'This junction would be the main route into Drogheda for the proposed new development as well as the main route to both the Train and bus stations for commuters to Dublin. This junction is a recognized accident black-spot as it is on a bend in the R132. There is a similar situation at this junction, with the normal tailback regularly stretching back 300m back along the Rathmullan road during the morning peak and 500m in the evening peak.'