Plans to close the motorway bridge between Naas and Sallins look set to provoke a major row.
The work is a National Roads Authority project and the expected duration of the work is 10 weeks, starting on July 7.
The bridge spans the motorway and is the effective dividing line between Naas and Sallins. The work will take place when the schools are closed but Cllr. Darren Scully, who lives in the area, predicted “Armageddon” when the plan was first announced in April.
At the time he asked if the bridge is falling down and now he says that the work should not proceed because a motorway interchange is planned further south towards Newbridge to facilitate traffic going to the Kerry Group plant. Traffic will be delayed significantly for 2 weeks as a one way flow is operated - meaning traffic coming from Sallins to Naas will proceed as normal. But vehicles travelling towards Sallins from Naas will be diverted off the N7 at the Kill interchange through Straffan and into Clane.
(Although, as Cllr James Lawless pointed out, motorists are likely to turn left after leaving the motorway and follow a route close to the canal to reach Sallins.) Cllr. Scully said the planned interchange is also a vital part of the planned by-pass of Sallins.
“As it is Monread Road is at breaking point with traffic from 4pm onwards and this will make it worse,” he said, predicting that some businesses in Sallins will lose up to half their income. He asked at a Naas Municipal district meeting whether the bridge “could survive for 2 years” to allow the interchange to be built. Newly elected chairman Seamie More disagreed commenting: “ 2 weeks (of closure) out of 10 (the project duration) is not much.” He also pointed out that pedestrians will continue to use the bridge as normal.