The preferred new N5 from Westport to Turlough route has cost €3 million for design and planning, even though there is no guarantee that the road will proceed as planned.
Castlebar Town Council received an update on progress of the proposed new road from Paul Hyland and Richard Glancy from the Mayo National Roads Design Office at the May meeting of the Council last week.
In response to a question from Cllr Michael Kilcoyne, Paul Hyland told the meeting that, thus far, the planning and design of the road had cost ‘roughly’ €3 million.
He said that while he wasn’t a spokesman for the National Roads Authority, he did believe that the N5 was ‘quite high’ in their priority in terms of proceeding. He did confirm that it would probably be at least ‘two to three years’ before there is a machine on site for the project.
However, after questioning from Cllr Michael Kilcoyne, Castlebar Town Manager Seamus Granahan admitted that land in other potential road corridors in the Castlebar area would continue to be sterillised until full An Bord Pleanála clearance had been secured for the preferred route.
“A spend of €3 million for a road which we don’t even know the route of and for which there is no land purchased is shocking. It is a terrible squandering of money,” Cllr Kilcoyne told The Mayo News. “People cannot build on land around Castlebar because they’re told that their property is on one of the corridors set aside for a possible route.
“This road could go to An Bord Pleanála and they could change the route again and then there’d be even more design and planning costs. If we had the €3 million ourselves, we’d have built a fair bit of the road. We’d certainly fill in all the potholes in Mayo. This road won’t be built in the term of this government and it could be ten years before a car is on any new road,” he said.
Paul Hyland told the meeting that the preferred route was 27km in length from the N59 on the Newport Road in Westport to the current N5 in Turlough. He said that 25km of it would be Type 2 dual carriageway, 2km of mainline single carriageway and would include six roundabouts and 23 bridges/underpasses.
The proposed route will meet the existing N5 Castlebar to Westport Road at Derrylea, dissect the existing N84 Ballinrobe Road at Aughadrinagh/Lisnageeha and the existing N60 Claremorris Road on the Breaffy side of the Kilkenny Cross roundabout.
Approximately 690 acres of land will be acquired, six houses will be acquired and a total of 250 landholdings will be effected. It includes two holes on Castlebar Golf Club.
Mr Hyland said that the road will reduce traffic through Castlebar by 30 per cent and save an estimated 35 road deaths over a 30 year period.
Cllr Frank Durcan questioned the wire rope barrier which will separate traffic, saying it was known as ‘razor wire’ and was being replaced all over the world.
Cllrs Therese Ruane and Harry Barrett questioned if the by-pass would remove trade from Castlebar.
“Take a look at Maynooth, Edgeworthstown and Kilcock, I haven’t been in them since they’ve been by-passed,” said Cllr Barrett.
Paul Hyland also told the meeting that public information evenings on the road will take place in Westport on June 12, Castlebar on June 12 and Turlough on June 14.
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