A view of the attendance
Residents opposed to the Naas ring road say that if it is approved it will bring more traffic congestion to parts of the town.
About 400 people opposed to the plan, mainly those living close to where the road starts at the Dublin road entrance to Naas Racecourse, staged a public meeting last Monday, March 25, at the Osprey Hotel.
The road will exit onto Blessington Road, near the AIB centre and roughly opposite the entrance to Sunday’s Well.
Most of the local councillors representing the Naas area were there, along with the three constituency TDs — Catherine Murphy, James Lawless and Bernard Durkan.
Of the six councillors present only one — Fianna Fáil’s Rob Power — indicated support for the plan.
Sunday’s Well resident Gerry Costello said there will be increased congestion at Blessington Road as well at Ballycane Road where there is a church, school and nursing home generating considerable traffic anyway.
He predicted airborne pollution would rise and criticised the proposal to provide walls at the Kingscourt estate.
Mr Costello also said there will be congestion at the AIB junction.
Kevin Greene, a Brú na Riogh resident, also highlighted the additional traffic — between 11,000 and 17,000 vehicles a day — arriving at Ballycane Road.
He also pointed out that it is proposed to have traffic passing closer to homes along the new stretch of road than it currently does along the Dublin Road, where congestion will ease.
Most of the councillors, including Darren Scully, say what is needed instead is an outer ring road around Naas, taking traffic away from all residential areas.
Another councillor who favours the plan, Fintan Brett sent a letter to the meeting. He too also favours an outer ring road, which he said should start near Johnstown, but in the meantime the plan is worthwhile because it will take traffic off Dublin Road and facilitate a cycleway.
Kildare County Council says the route will take traffic away from built-up areas and the road will facilitate the provision of much needed housing and “whose lack of delivery would likely restrict further development (beyond already granted planning permissions) in the environs of the inner relief road”.
Racecourse Gate resident Christine O’Sullivan said the junction at the entrance to the route of Dublin Road “has never been free flowing” and now it is proposed to bring more traffic to use it.
“This is not nimbyism and it won’t solve the traffic problems; we need a proper ring road and not one that was designed 27 years ago,” she said.
Ms O’Sullivan said Racecourse Gate would lose a green area and it will be more difficult for people to leave estates. Cllr Carmel Kelly said the proposal is shortsighted and won’t tackle congestion. She said an outer ring road is required for Naas.
Although the residents have launched a campaign to have the proposal defeated, Cllr Seamie Moore told the meeting he was not influenced by pressure. He said the road is “in the wrong place.” He said the road should be built on the other side of the racecourse, an option known as route 8, given that the population of Naas will continue to increase.
Cllr Rob Power was the only politician present to declare support for the road, saying it would alleviate traffic problems by taking 40% off the Dublin Road whereas the alternative route put forward for the Tipper side of Naas racecourse would take only 1% of traffic off Dublin Road.
Cllr Darren Scully said the proposal is “crazy” and echoed the call for an outer ring road “that goes around the town and not through residential areas”.
Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said the road should have been along route 8 because this will lead to more development levies from houses that are yet to be built.