Bridge linking Leitrim and Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon
Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce are calling for Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils to work together for a more balanced approach to the town.
The bridge which crosses the Shannon and straddles counties Leitrim and Roscommon should be seen as a vital link instead of a divide of the well-known tourist and business town.
With Lidl seeking to move from the Roscommon side to the Leitrim side of the town there is concern about the future plans for the Cortober area of Carrick.
President of Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce Colm McGrath told the Leitrim Observer, “there is no balanced thinking” between both sides of the bridge.
He is calling for both council planning departments and decision makers to look at Carrick-on-Shannon as a whole and to implement a more “holistic approach” to the town which straddles both counties.
He said the two councils should meet regularly to discuss plans for the town and to work together to enhance Carrick-on-Shannon.
Commenting on the new application for planning permission for supermarket giant Lidl to move from the Roscommon side to the Dublin Road on the Leitrim side, Mr McGrath said, if granted, the Leitrim part of Carrick will become a “shopping mecca” while the Roscommon side could deteriorate.
He noted there are much fewer businesses across the bridge on the Roscommon side and he feels there needs to be a more businesslike approach to the whole town.
Mr McGrath said some members of the Chamber are for and some are against the Lidl move, but he thinks personally there are other sites Lidl could look to aside from one of the last “greenfields” in Carrick.
President of Carrick Chamber Colm McGrath said the current green site at MBNA is “aesthetically pleasing” on approach and this could be ruined by a new two storey business if Lidl is given planning permission.
Mr McGrath said they have been assured if the business gets permission that it will not further impact on traffic in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Traffic delays are another problem both sides of Carrick have in common and Mr McGrath called Carrick-on-Shannon “the last bottleneck on the N4.”
Mr McGrath said the Chamber are pushing for designs to be created and public consultations over a possible bypass of Carrick-on-Shannon to take place sooner rather than later.
Despite the fact there is not agreement from all businesses and residents that a bypass is the right plan, Mr McGrath said it is agreed that the current traffic delays are not good for the town and there is a need for a plan to deal with the growing traffic.
Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce met with eight other chambers and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport this month to discuss upgrading of the N4. Following the meeting the Committee has agreed to recommend to the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross that he include the N4/N5 in a Capital Programme review currently underway.
Mr McGrath said it is understood that the Collooney to Castlebaldwin road will be constructed in January 2018.
He said next on the agenda will be the Mullingar to Rooskey road.
The investment required for the design stage of the next phase of the project from Mullingar to the Leitrim border is in the order of €5 million over the next three years.
That level of investment will see the project ready for CPO and construction once funding becomes available.
The upgrade of the Rooskey to Carrick-on-Shannon route and a possible bypass of Carrick-on-Shannon is in the longer term plan for 2021-25.
Mr McGrath said while members in the Chamber and those resident in Carrick-on-Shannon are not sure if a bypass or a ring road would better serve the town, he said they are all in agreement that the current traffic delays of up to 30 minutes at weekends is not good for the town.
Mr McGrath said getting Carrick-on-Shannon on the Infrastructure Plan would mean “construction can take place in the next ten years instead of the next twenty years.”