*Photograph: Natasha Barton

PHASE 2 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road (LNDR) is not included in the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy; a plan that extends from now until 2040.

Uncertainty had previously clouded Phase 1 of the LNDR in the winter of 2021 before it received the go-ahead from the Government in February 2021. Roadbridge, the construction firm which has now entered receivership were appointed by Limerick City and County Council for the contract following a competitive tendering process for the project costing around €29m.

Overall costs of the project are expected to be in the region of €58 and involve the construction of a new distributor road between Coonagh Roundabout on the Ennis Rd and the Knockalisheen Rd in the Moyross area on the northside of Limerick City. The road is a key element of the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan.

At a briefing between Oireachtas and elected representatives on Tuesday, it was revealed that Phase 2 of the LNDR is now absent from the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) admitted he was worried by its absence. “It’s very concerning that Minister Eamon Ryan has been given a ministerial directive that Phase 2 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road be omitted from the LSMATS strategy. This strategy will set out the infrastructural priorities for the south of Clare, encompassing Shannon Airport and Shannon town all the way as far as Limerick City. The strategy will run until 2040 and for this reason it is so important that the politicians of today strategically think about the needs of both counties Clare and Limerick but also the wider region for the next two decades”.

Deputy Crowe warned, “To outrightly omit this project now, in 2022, could have very serious negative outcomes for the people who will live here for the next two decades and beyond. I’m particularly concerned, as a Meelick native, that Phase 2 of the LNDR has been entirely omitted by Minister Eamon Ryan. At the moment, Phase 1 of this road from Coonagh, Limerick as far as Meelick, Clare is under construction albeit at a current standstill due to the contractor Roadbridge Ltd going into receivership. The government is working flat out to re-tender this project and to ensure that a new contractor is in place to complete it”.

If Phase 2 does not proceed, the work of Phase 1 will lead to the creation of a “road to nowhere,” Deputy Crowe remarked. “The LNDR aims to alleviate traffic congestion in South Clare and the north suburbs of Limerick city but my fear is that if it’s only partially built that the opposite of these aims will actually be the outcome. Some local people continue to have legitimate concerns about the road routing, and it would be right and proper that these concerns are dealt with in the design and planning stages of the road, but it is wrong for the Minister to outrightly guillotine the project at this point”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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