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*Photograph: Bob Singer

A compulsory purchase order of Blake’s Corner has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

On Thursday morning, An Bord Pleanála advised Clare County Council that a decision had been reached for the compulsory purchase order of Blake’s Corner.

A CPO had been issued by the Council in June 2020 with an oral hearing held in June 2021 with An Bord Pleanála revealing their determination in September 2022.

Clare County Council’s application was approved without modification.

This decision allows the Council to proceed with the proposed N67/N85 Inner Relief Road Ennistymon (Blake’s Corner). This involves the construction of a new bridge approximately 80m upstream of the existing Michael Conway Bridge.

The existing bridge, a protected 7-arch masonry bridge, will be pedestrianised to allow pedestrian and cyclist access only, and a plaza will be constructed at the western end. The scheme will include other enhancements to the area, including footpath improvements and enhanced crossing arrangements, landscaping, lighting and services enhancements, and other ancillary elements.

Road network capacity and road safety is intended to be improved as part of the scheme while conserving and complementing the historic fabric of the town.

The scheme has been developed to address the serious traffic congestion issues through Ennistymon town. A review of previous studies of the junction at Blake’s Corner, a traffic modelling assessment of the improvement options and a design of an improvement scheme have all been carried out to find the most appropriate solution to deal with the long-standing traffic problems in Ennistymon.

Attention can now turn to commencing work on the project, unless the decision is challenged by way of a judicial review.

Construction of the inner relief road is expected to take two years.

In 2018, the County Council was granted planning permission for works with an estimated cost of €7m which intend to improve access to Ennistymon, the construction of a new bridge over the Inagh River and pedestrianising Michael Conway bridge which is currently listed as a protected structure. The costs associated with the project are likely to exceed over €8m due to inflation.

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