OUT OF DATE: This proposed 2004 route now needs to be redesigned.
In the second part of our special investigation into how major projects in Killarney are lagging behind when compared to other towns in Kerry, this week, Sean Moriarty looks at the never ending story of the new bypass.
It seems Killarney has its lilies and Tralee its lovely roads.
We are paraphrasing the words of a famous local song but it is not music to the ears of Killarney’s motorists.
The outer relief road from Lissivigeen to the Tralee Road was originally scheduled for completion in 2009 but due to the economic collapse the work never commenced. It is now back on the Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) schedule of works but no definite date has been given for commencement. The last we heard, the plans need to be re-designed.
And so it remains on the long finger.
“The entire process had to start all over again at national level and a new list was formulated. A revised and reduced in length bypass was now included. An almost entire new assessment process had to commence and that is on-going. Our fervent hope is that list will remain intact and that the massive expenditure on COVID-19 related projects won’t interfere with the road project,” Cllr Michael Gleeson explained to the Killarney Advertiser.
In the meantime work on the Listowel bypass continues. The 5.9km stretch which links the Tarbert and Ballybunnion roads with the Tralee road is well underway.
The Listowel bypass plan was approved by Government in 2005, a date which does not tally with the proposed Killarney bypass which was given governmental approval in 2004.
OTHER PROJECTS CONTINUE
Other major projects are continuing. The Macroom and Ballyvourney bypass is underway. The badly needed Adare bypass got the go-ahead last year, and while construction is yet to start the arrival of the internationally renowned Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2026 will ensure this project will be completed by that time.
Meanwhile, Killarney, the host town of several major annual events, waits.
“On an overview in 2003/4 a specific route corridor with designs finalised and projected completion dates were made public for the major Farranfore to Lissivigeen relief road which was going to alleviate the volumes of traffic coming into Killarney, what happened? Well the bubble and the banks burst and we here in Killarney were forgotten and left behind again,” Mayor Brendan Cronin told the Killarney Advertiser.
Last week Kerry County Council approved a plan to collaborate with Limerick County Council to fast track the Abbeyfeale bypass – a direct extension of the Adare project.
“I believe that it was and is very appropriate for KCC to assist Limerick CC in progressing the Abbeyfeale bypass which is of vital importance to Kerry. Cross Border cooperation is essential to many major projects,” Cllr Gleeson added.
Taking this to its extreme, in a few short years, motorists leaving Tralee will be able to travel to the start of Ireland’s motorway network in Limerick (M7 for Dublin and M18 for Galway) on brand new roads that are suitable for today’s volumes of traffic.
Motorists heading to and from the tourist capital of Ireland will have to endure a densely populated and poorly aligned road between Farranfore and Killarney – the scene of at least two fatal accidents this year alone.
The fast-tracking of the new bypass is vital and, by default, it will eliminate other traffic blackspots in Killarney that are also on the long-finger.
Congestion between Madam’s Hill and the Cleeney roundabout will be greatly reduced as through-traffic will be diverted away from this stretch of road. The relief road will also go a long way towards reducing traffic on the existing bypass and will help solve issues at the Lewis Road interchange.
The Ballycasheen and Coolcaslagh junctions are two other notorious traffic blackspots – and in the case of the former – an exit from an housing estate leads onto a national primary route.
“The situation with four critical junctions at Lewis Road, Madams Hill, Ballycasheen Junction and Coolcaslagh junction is that they are all on the N22 national primary route which is under the total control of Transport Infrastructure Ireland who decide design, planning, layout changes and what level of funding will be spent on any of the above dangerous junctions on the N22. This has proved extremely frustrating over the years because as a Council we are, repeatedly, at every meeting seeking improvements and funding for these junctions but the decisions are made in the TII offices in Dublin,” added Cllr Cronin.