Mayo motorists travelling east along the N5 can look forward to by-passing Ballaghderreen in the near future with construction on the town’s by-pass expected to start next year.
The Minister of Transport, Leo Varadkar gave local representatives ‘definite assurances’ over the weekend that the funding will be ring-fenced for the 13.6km by-pass of the Mayo-Roscommon border town.
The project is currently at the planning phase and progression to the award of the construction contract had been stalled upon the availability of funding. With financing for the project now available, it is likely to go to the tendering stage in early 2012 with a view to commencing construction immediately after the process is complete.
For many years, travelling from Mayo through Ballaghaderreen has been the bane of many motorists, especially at the ‘Flannery’s Corner’ junction where drivers had to negotiate a sharp, 90 degree turn.
Mayo TD and Ballaghaderreen resident, John O’Mahony welcomed the news that the by-pass is due to go ahead and feels it will open up development for industry in Mayo.
“For years, industrial and business leaders in Mayo have campaigned for better access to the county and this development is of great significance. It will make it easier for businesses to get their products to the market outside of Mayo and it will also help in attracting industry to the county. At a time of huge economic stress it’s great to know that this shovel ready project is going to go ahead,” he said.
The current N5 through Roscommon has been a cause of concern for Mayo industrialists who in the past felt that the poor infrastructure has undermined competitiveness in the west and costs jobs.
The new by-pass will connect with the existing N5 Charlestown by-pass and will comprise of 13.6km of standard single carriageway which will run north of Ballaghaderreen town. The project will include realignment/bridging of local road junctions and a major grade separated junction at the N5/R293 interface. An Bord Pleanála approved the scheme in 2008.
Ballaghaderreen based Labour Senator, John Kelly said the completion of the new by-pass should open up a ‘whole new world, business wise for the entire town’.