No quick decision on the route of Naas relief road

Newly elected council will decide

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

No quick decision on the route of Naas relief road

Some of the residents who were at the Osprey Hotel meeting in April

A decision on the route of the planned inner relief road will not be made by the existing councillors representing the Naas area.

It is almost certain that the route chosen to link the Dublin road with Blessington road will be put before the new Naas Municipal District, following local elections due to take place in May.

Consultants are currently deciding which of the three route options is best and while it was originally thought that the chosen route might be available before the end of 2018, possibly even by last September, it not clear when the route will be selected.

Two of these (one and two) are similar and start near the entrance to Naas racecourse and exit at Blessington road.

A third route, known as six, will start further up the Dublin Road and takes a wider berth around the Tipper side of Naas racecourse, before exiting at a point closer to the Oak Glade residential area on the Blessington Road.

Residents living in housing areas like The Gallops have campaigned against the routes which pass close to their homes and held a public meeting to secure support from councillors.

They claim that the plans are out date because these were proposed in 1992 — when Naas had a population of 11,000. Today’s population is twice that figure and predicted to grow.

Many fewer people are affected by route six, because of the more rural character of the neighbourhood, though people living in that area are equally opposed to route six.

A resident of Fishery Lane, who opposes route six says it is inconceivable that the residents of The Gallops, Kingscourt and Racecourse Gate did not know that the ring road was planned for route one and two prior to purchasing their homes, when the road was clearly visible at that time.

“It was common knowledge and the talk of the town that this was where the ring road was going. There has already been a considerable investment made on infrastructure, and traffic management facilities are currently in place on part of proposed route one and two,” they said.

“Route six would incur substantially greater costs in terms of land purchase and road construction.”

The resident added: “It is astonishing that the road, with less than 1km remaining to be completed between the Blessington Road business park and the racecourse, and with available funds to do the job, that the council may turn down the opportunity to have a viable and badly needed ring road to relieve the congestion on the Dublin road.”

Once the route is chosen there is a planning process to be followed which requires advertising, erecting sign notices, allowing a period for observations and submissions from the public — before a report is presented to the councillors for decision.

The timeframe for all of this is 20 weeks.

Cllr Darren Scully said it is “99.9% certain” that the new council will make the decision. He also said that decisions about the future development of Naas cannot be made until the route is chosen because the road will “have an influence over how Naas develops.”

KCC district manager Peter Minnock said that the consultants have not yet concluded a technical report and KCC have asked for an update on its progress, which will be given to the councillors.

This report is nearing completion and it is hoped a draft plan will be ready soon.

He said this draft plan would allow the sitting councillors to steer planning for the future development of Naas.

He said a final decision on the route is likely to go the next elected Naas Municipal District. Cllr Fintan Brett said that there is an urgent need for infrastructure to deal with increasing traffic level and a decision needs to be made.

“Naas is expanding at a rate,” he said. He added the town needs an outer relief road — something Mr Minnock suggested would take 20 years.