Campaign group challenges justification for N2 Clontibret-Border road project

26 November 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Statistical justifications being advanced by consultants Grontmij for the development of the controversial N2 Clontibret to the Border road scheme were strongly challenged by representatives of the “Don’t Bypass the Bypass” campaign group opposed to the project when they addressed the members of Monaghan Co Council at their adjourned November meeting last week.

The delegation argued that traffic count statistics did not justify the development of the route as a dual carriageway, and urged the Council to reject such a proposal and instead carry out appropriate improvement and strengthening works to the road in question.

The campaigners also called into question what they anticipated would be massive expenditure on the development of the project at a time of severe difficulty for the national economy, and asked for assurances that the 1,800 public submissions which had been made in relation to the road development would be given full consideration by the Council.  They argued that the project was being advanced by the National Roads Authority as a means of guaranteeing its own survival as a State body.

In response, Acting Co Manager David Fallon pointed out that no decision had yet been made on whether the route would be a dual carriageway, and this decision would be made on the basis of the consideration of a cost benefit analysis and study of relevant traffic count and volume statistics.  He rejected the description of the project as “a motorway” which had been used by the delegation members.

Assuring the delegation that the points they had made in the course of their presentation would be responded to in detailed written form by the executive of the Council, Mr Fallon also stated that all submissions received in relation to the project during the public consultation period were being examined in detail.

The meeting heard detailed submissions from group members Cathal McGlone, Noel Murphy and Hugh Breakey.  James Ward and Ivor Finlay were also part of the delegation.

Mr McGlone in his presentation argued strongly that there was no need for a dual carriageway road to be built in this location.  He said that National Road Authority traffic count figures showed that traffic volumes in the area were currently at 47% capacity, and if the plan for a dual carriageway were realised this figure would fall to 27%.

They had hospitals closing, operations cancelled and public services unable to cope with demand, but a road was going to be built to accommodate projected growth in 25-30 years’ time when the country was on its knees, Mr McGlone stated.  He objected to the level of expenditure the project would entail at a time when “Brian Lenihan was bartering in Brussels to prevent the keys of the country from being handed over.”

Claiming the project would result in a total cost of €850 million, he said it should be “stopped now”.

Mr McGlone told the councillors that the “Don’t Bypass the Bypass” group had no confidence in the documentation and information that had flowed from Grontmij up to now.  He pointed out that 20,000 traffic movements per day were required for a dual carriageway, while the figure for the road at present was 5,506.  At the height of the Celtic Tiger, the movements were on average 6,200 per day, which was 56% capacity of the projected development.

Referring to a 300-page report, which had been compiled by Grontmij in relation to the project, he noted that only three-and-a-half pages were devoted to traffic data, and asked whether this was because the traffic date didn’t stack up.  The report was written as if the traffic volumes were increasing, but they were decreasing since 2008.  Figures for 2009 and 2010 had been excluded from the report.

Mr McGlone claimed that if the process of development were allowed to continue, Monaghan Co Council would select a route and proceed with a project that was “based on false information”.  Referring to the large volume of public submissions that the project had attracted during the recent consultation periods, he asked for assurances that each submission would be checked and gone through thoroughly, and enquired if the working papers in this regard would be made available.

Mr McGlone also claimed that the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey had stated in May 2008 that a single carriageway road would be provided from the Border to Monaghan Town.

Comments are closed.