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Judicial review is holding up vital Sligo East link bridge project

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The proposed Eastern Garavogue Bridge to be built at Riverside, Sligo.

The proposed Eastern Garavogue Bridge to be built at Riverside, Sligo.

The proposed Eastern Garavogue Bridge to be built at Riverside, Sligo.

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The proposed Eastern Link Garavogue Bridge project has been delayed because of judicial review proceedings, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has told the Dáil in reply to a query from Deputy Frank Feighan.

The minister said his Department, together with the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, had been providing grant funding for this scheme.

“The project will support urban regeneration in Sligo by improving community links, facilitating reduced journey times for walkers, cyclists and vehicles between the North and South sides of the River Garvogue on the eastern side of the City and improving access to facilities on opposite sides of the river.

“The scheme was approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2009; however, funding constraints as a result of the economic and financial crisis delayed detailed design and construction.

“The scheme is included in the National Development Plan and is now at the point where the detailed design needs to be completed and construction contract documents finalised. I am aware, however, that Judicial Review proceedings have been initiated regarding the scheme,” he said.

However, the Minister was hopeful progress could be made through the mediation process. Together with Sligo Town Regeneration funding will continue to be made available for the project

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Deputy Feighan stressed the scheme was key to the development of Sligo and in linking communities and facilitating development within Sligo City especially the east ward of the city.

“The main benefits for Sligo Residents and the wider community will include much reduced journey times for walkers, cyclists and vehicles between the North and South sides of the River Garvogue in the eastern quadrant.

“Traffic chaos and lack of links between key buildings like our hospital, colleges, and government buildings is a key issue. This project will significantly reduce travel distance and improve access to the many facilities on opposite sides of the river.

“These includes the three schools and Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Sligo on the Northeast side and three schools on the Southeast side. It will also provide faster access to Sligo General Hospital from the Southeast quarter and better access to Government Buildings, County Hall, the Fire Station, Cleveragh Business and Retail Area, Doorly Park Playground and Trail, Sligo Regional Sports Centre and the newly developed Cleveragh Park facilities. The route will also greatly reduce response times for emergency services.”

Deputy Feighan also raised the issue of traffic congestion on the N4 at Carrick-on-Shannon with delays of one hour at peak week-ends.

“The section of the N4 under consideration is about 21km. There is currently only 1 bridge crossing, a bridge that is there since 1846. Significant lengths of the N4 have been improved/upgraded to dual carriageway cross-section in the recent past.

“With these upgrades, especially the opening of N4 Dromod to Roosky bypass, Carrick-on-Shannon has become a bottleneck for long-distance and regional traffic and remains the only regional strategic centre on the N4 between Dublin and Sligo which has not been bypassed to date. Carrick is a vibrant town and I have no doubt that a by-pass will not have a major impact on the commercial life of the town.

“The benefit is immense for the Sligo region, further reducing the travel times between east and Northwest, providing a further opportunity for industrial investment in Sligo. Minister if we are to really address the regional imbalance that is well documented in report after report then connectivity and travel time must be reduced from Dublin to Sligo, this Carrick-Dromod bypass must then be progressed and prioritised by Government.”

Minister Ryan replied that the scheme’s Route Option Selection phase is nearing completion with the Preferred Transport Solution announced which was displayed publicly in May and June 2022 and is available to view in detail at the scheme website. Following completion of Route Selection, the Design and Environmental Evaluation phase will develop the project design further to allow progression through the necessary statutory processes.


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