CALLS to begin the much-anticipated Tullow relief road to ease traffic congestion in the town centre were discussed at this month’s meeting of Carlow County Council.
Cllr William Paton put forward a notice of motion urging the council to construct part of this long-awaited relief road from the R418 Castledermot Road to the N81 Bunclody Road, with a target completion date of 2023, therefore easing traffic congestion in the town.
He also asked that all development levies collected from a development adjacent to the proposed route be ring-fenced for the project.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland has indicated that it is “unlikely to construct a second bridge over the River Slaney at Tullow until the population of the town exceeds 20,000”. However, cllr Paton urged that the two projects be seen as separate and the council should “push ahead with initial studies”.
“If we don’t start pushing the relief road for Tullow, it will be kicked down the road for another 40 or 50 years,” he said.
Agreeing, cathaoirleach John Pender stated that there was “a lot of unrest in the town regarding traffic congestion and the area around the bridge”.
“Any development adjacent to this proposed road, access to any new development, could be via the new road,” he suggested.
“We need to start the process,” cllr Pender insisted.
Cllr John McDonald agreed, while cllr John Murphy said: “We have to make a start and get the process going; Tullow needs an outer relief road.”
Acting director of services Kieran Cullinane was adamant that projects shouldn’t be split. “We have to get funding for the whole project; we can’t split projects. I agree we do need it, but that has to be done by lobbying TII, not spending our own resources,” he added.
Mr Cullinane stated that TII had acknowledged there is a problem in Tullow but that traffic-calming measures and pedestrian crossings had to be used to ease matters. “My recommendation is not to do it,” Mr Cullinane stated.
Cllr Paton said that €3 million was committed to this project several years ago, but it was “loaned to Carlow and didn’t come back”. He agreed to withdraw the motion on the advice of the director, but added: “I will bring this back up again.”