Carrick-on-Shannon Bridge. Traffic often backs up crossing this local landmark.
All options are still up for consideration in the bid to find a solution to the traffic problems in Carrick-on- Shannon and a detailed design of any bypass proposal is still two years away, the Carrick-on- Shannon Municipal District meeting heard this week.
The meeting was told that no decision has been made on whether Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will elect for a road or a non-road based solution.
A two week extension has already been granted for the public consultation process presently underway and although Carrick-on-
Shannon county councillors unanimously supported a motion calling for a further extension of this period, “it is unlikely” that this will happen.
Leitrim County Council will now contact the TII and point out that councillors have expressed a desire to extend the current consultation period beyond that of June 25.
However, the Council itself has no authority to extend this period, the authority to do so ultimately lies with the TII as the N4 is a national route.
Acting Senior Engineer at Leitrim County Council, Terry McGovern, explained that the whole process of developing a bypass solution for the county town will have to move through eight separate phases.
At the moment the process is currently at phase two and he stressed that “at all times in the process there will be consultation with those potentially impacted”.
He said that at this stage the objectives for the project have been set along with the study areas and he said that the constraints in these possible areas are currently being looked at.
Following the current consultation process the designers will come up with a number of alternatives and options to alleviate the traffic pressure points in Carrick-on-Shannon.
He pointed out that nothing is set in stone at the moment and the option finally selected “may not be a road based solution at all”.
“Even if a road based solution is selected”, Mr McGovern pointed out that there “are a number of considerations to be looked at as to what will best address the problem and best fit”.
He said this could involve a “do minimum” option where the existing roadway is used. There is also, he said, a “management option” which also leaves the road as it is at the moment but may involve the inclusion of traffic lights or other structures to manage the flow of traffic.
He acknowledged that a large list of possible corridors for a bypass have also been included for consideration but stressed that “some cannot fit into the criteria they are being assessed on” and ultimately this will decide whether they are proceeded with.
He pointed out that Leitrim County Council will not be determining the outcome on this project adding “at the end of the day it is An Bord Pleanala who will make a decision on this and it is the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) who will put forward the final proposal (to An Board Pleanala)” for decision, not Leitrim County Council.
“Every single option and alternative will be looked at and all will be assessed against set criteria,” said Mr McGovern.
He believes that the preferred option will be selected by the end of 2021 acknowledging that “if this is a roads based solution it will be in the form of a corridor”.
He said at present it is too early in the process to say what the design of the proposed solution will be “as you're jumping several stages” to seek a design at this time.
Mr McGovern said he “totally understood concerns” about the way the consultation process is being carried out but stressed this was because of Covid and added that the present methods were working “way better than bringing a crowd to a hall to view a map on a wall”.
He accepted that not everyone would find the current process suitable but pointed out that people are being granted half hour private meetings with two members of the consulting team and that people are also being provided with maps of their own property and told of how their property could potentially be affected.
He said that the detail being provided in this public consultation is “very high” and urged people to arrange an appointment to either speak with the consultation team online or via phone.
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