Taoiseach to open bypass next week
The M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy bypass is to be formally opened by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday July 18.
The culmination of almost four years work, the bypass will see a new motorway operate from the end of the Gorey Bypass at Clogh to the townland of Scurlockbush, south of Enniscorthy. In addition a bypass of the N30 to the west of Enniscorthy and a link road to the N80 will also be opened.
Reacting to the news, Leas-Chathaoirleach of Enniscorthy Municipal District Councillor Barbara-Anne Murphy said: 'This is going to be huge for Wexford, it will bring us that much closer to Dublin and allow anyone who wants to do business in Dublin to come here. It's an opportunity, and it's up to us how we use it.'
However, Independent Enniscorthy councillor, Jackser Owens, voiced concerns about the impact the new motorway would have on local businesses, on those situated within Enniscorthy town.
'It'll be fantastic from a traffic perspective, especially in Enniscorthy where it's been chaos,' said Cllr Owens. 'What will happen to the town now though? I don't know.
'We haven't got a Penneys, a cinema, or a Tesco. A lot of people are shopping elsewhere, they're going to the cinema in Gorey and Wexford, and you can't blame them for that. We have to let development happen in our town. Wexford and Gorey are booming, but we're not.'
Accepting that the bypass would present challenges for those operating within the town centre, Cllr Murphy was quick to highlight the potential benefits the motorway would bring, one of them easier access for those wishing to shop in Enniscorthy.
'This is going to make Enniscorthy easier to access. At the moment, unless you know how to get in via the east side of the town you end up being taken right through it by the main road. We can look at it as a threat but if we're going to be negative about it we're not going to get anywhere. This is a real opportunity for Enniscorthy, potentially the biggest opportunity of the last 30, 40 years,' she said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Aidan Browne said that the completion of the roadworks had the potential to make Enniscorthy a desirable destination for those wishing to commute for Dublin. 'It's very welcome. The removal of traffic will free up the town and allow it to develop commercially. It will also bring the town into the Dublin commuter belt which will allow the town to attract businesses who need access to Dublin. I intend to ensure that the council takes full advantage of the bypass to develop the town. Enniscorthy has so much untapped potential in terms of tourism and business. I intend to see that the town fulfils that potential,' he said.
A feasibility study is currently been carried out into a number of different route options to extend the motorway from Oylegate to Rosslare Port. The purpose of the study is to examine the different route options from a design, economic and planning perspective.
Once the study is complete a public consultation on the different routes is expected to take place by the end of the year.