Consultants to vary proposed routes for Clontibret-border road scheme

14 January 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A number of variations to the proposed route corridors for the Clontibret-Northern Ireland Border road scheme on the N2 are now being put forward by the project consultants, it was disclosed by Acting Co Manager David Fallon at Tuesday’s meeting of Monaghan Co Council.
Mr Fallon said that the variations, which had emerged as a consequence of the public consultation process on the project, would be presented to the members of the Council by the consultants at the authority’s February meeting.
It was also stated that the variations would mean that the public consultation process in relation to the scheme, which has generated a considerable degree of opposition among some communities in North Monaghan, would now have to be re-opened.
Mr Fallon told the Council members on Tuesday that there would be a presentation by the project consultants at the February meeting because there had been some variations made to the route options previously identified, and the consultants wished to advise the members of these. The variations were as a result of issues that had arisen during the public consultation process.
The Acting Manager added that because there might be some slight variation to the routes the public consultation process would be reopened again.
When Matt Carthy referred to previous assurances by the Council that the public consultation phase could not be extended, the Acting Manager said that issues that arose during the public consultation were now pertinent.
Owen Bannigan noted that the Council had previously been told that there would be a cost implication for it if the public consultation were to be reopened.
Mr Fallon said there would have been a cost implication for the Council if they had extended the consultation phase unilaterally. Because the National Roads Authority, the consultants and the Co Council were making the decision in this instance, the NRA would fund the cost.
Paudge Connolly asked if there was a route that had not previously been seen that would be up for discussion now.
The Acting Manager said he believed there were two different areas where slight variations to the original proposed route options were now being put forward. There would be variations to avoid particular situations.
Aidan Murray asked if any indication had been given by the NRA that there would be funding forthcoming for this project in the next few years, or if there was any priority listing for it. He compared the project to the East-West Link in terms of the issue of the availability of funding.
Robbie Gallagher pointed out that he had tabled a question on the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting asking: “What is the expected date for the announcement of the preferred route corridor for the N2 Clontibret to Northern Ireland Border Road Scheme and what indications are there for funding available for same?”
The reply he received was: “It is anticipated that it will be at mid-2011 before a preferred route corridor will emerge and go to public consultation. There is no indication on funding for this scheme at present.”
Colr Gallagher expressed the view that it was “an absolute joke” that there was no definite indication of funding for the project, and was critical of the amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on the planning for a road that might not see the light of day for 30 years. The Council needed to ascertain if there was funding for a preferred route if they produced one. “Surely that is common sense?” the North Monaghan Fianna Fáil councillor asked.
Brian McKenna, however, made the point that the Co Council did not need the funding until they had gone through the various stages of planning and preparation. This could take seven years and they could then be in a different economic climate altogether.
The Acting Manager said that the Co Council had to get the project to the stage where a route was selected, and the public knew what that route would be.

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