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*Photograph: Bob Singer

FRUSTRATION IS BREWING among elected and non-elected members of Clare County Council over the two year wait for a decision on whether works at Blake’s Corner can progress.

A two day oral hearing was held by An Bord Pleanála on June 9th and 10th of 2021 for the N67/N85 Inner Relief Road Ennistymon (Blake’s Corner) compulsory purchase order.

Fourteen months later, no outcome has been made clear. Prior to this, efforts to hold the hearing took twelve months.

Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) appealed to management of the local authority to put pressure on An Bord Pleanála to provide details of their decision. “It is an unacceptable delay,” the Lisdoonvarna man remarked.

His sentiments were shared by the Council’s Chief Executive, Pat Dowling. “You don’t have to remind us about a particular bridge in Ennistymon, it is being pushed and pressed in every way, it has taken way too long, it is a bad example of how we get capital infrastructures delivered on the ground. We’re waiting for the final bit,” he replied.

Construction of a new bridge approximately 80m upstream of the existing Michael Conway Bridge is proposed as part of the inner relief road. The scheme was developed to “address the serious traffic congestion issues” in Ennistymon.

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 a solution to deal with the long-standing traffic problems in Ennistymon.

As part of the proposal, 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. The scheme will improve the capacity of the road network and will improve road safety, while conserving and complementing the historic fabric of the town.

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