Sunday 22 April 2018

Swords diversion sparks local fears

Cllr Duncan Smith.
Cllr Duncan Smith.

John Manning

Fingal County Council has been flooded with objections to a plan to divert traffic from the Rathbeale Road towards Glen Ellan in Swords, during a major upgrade of the busy road.

Some 111 submissions have been made by concerned residents of the Glen Ellan area who believe the Glen Ellan Road cannot handle the level of traffic the diversion will funnel toward this part of Swords and fear the plan poses a risk to school children in the area.

Plans to deliver a major upgrade of the Rathbeale Road are out for public consultation currently and the diversion to Glen Ellan Road is proving to be the most controversial part of the council's plans.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Lab) welcomed the volume of submissions made to Fingal County Council on the proposed upgrade works on the Rathbeale Road planned for 2018.

Cllr Smith: 'I am delighted that 111 submissions have been made on this important proposal, the majority of which call on the council to come up with an alternative construction plan which avoids sending all traffic from Ashbourne and Rolestown down the Glen Ellan Road.'

Explaining why he backed calls to avoid diverting traffic down the Glen Ellan Road, Cllr Smith said: 'The Glen Ellan Road is already choked with traffic particularly during school drop-off times. One saving grace is that the Glen Ellan Road does not have much Heavy Goods Vehicles travelling on it.

'If this plan got the go-ahead in its proposed form not only would the Glen Ellan Road have a massive increase in regular traffic, but it would also have many HGVs and trucks coming down the road which has two schools and a community centre.'

The Swords-based Labour councillor said: 'I campaigned to make residents aware of this plan and to make submissions. Some 111 submissions is a great number and the vast majority are asking for an alternative traffic plan.

'The council will have to listen and come back with a different plan. I look forward to debating this further in the council.'

Earlier this month, Cllr Smith foresaw the difficulties the council's diversion plans might run into. He publicly called on the local authority to 're-assess' the work for the proposed upgrade of the Rathbeale Road from the Murrough Road towards the row of cottages known locally as 'The Twelve Apostles' in order to ensure that all the traffic is not diverted towards the Glen Ellan Road.

Cllr Smith argued: 'This is a very important piece of upgrading works. However, it is important to note that if these works go ahead they will have an impact on traffic in north Swords during the duration of the project which is set to last nine months.

'In particular, it is planned that should these works go ahead, all traffic coming from Rolestown, will be diverted north to the Glen Ellan Road. This will have a big impact on the current traffic volumes of the Glen Ellan Road and could last up to nine months.'

He added: 'We have 10 estates directly off the Glen Ellan Road, as well as schools and a community centre. The road is at maximum capacity at peak times already and we can't have heavy goods traffic on top of that for nine months.'

Fingal Independent