New inner relief road set
Work on the new €3.3 million Ballyconnell 1.1 kilometer inner relief road is progressing rapidly and will feature two roundabouts and an expansive new bridge over the Woodford Canal. The work commenced in June and is set to be completed by August, 2012. The contract is being carried out by Gibson Brothers from Banbridge who recently carried out the 1 kilometer realignment project on the Belturbet to Ballyconnell road at Staghall. Senior resident engineer on the project, Brendan Smith told The Anglo-Celt that the new inner relief road links the N87 (Belturbet/Ballyconnell Road) with the Ballyconnell/Derrylin road. It commences with a new roundabout on the Belturbet road and then progresses through the Annagh Industrial/Corporate Park, where another roundabout will be located to service the park. It then proceeds over the Woodford Canal, and that will involve the construction of a new bridge, which has a span of 38 meters, and then links on out to the R205, which is the Ballyconnell/Derrylin road. The bridge has to allow enough clearance for boating traffic on the canal. The new road will come out past the Old Ennis Mill location and just before the Quinn cement plant. Mr Smith said it will relieve the traffic congestion in the centre of the town and especially at the four way junction. He said the history of by-passes and relief roads does show that they have benefited trade in the towns involved. Cavan town would be an indication of the effect of a by-pass. "The people who are in the town want to be in the town and not stuck in traffic, endeavouring to get through the town," said Mr Smith. Denis Davidson, contracts manager with Gibson Brothers described the project as fairly complex, particularly in relation to the phasing of it, keeping all the services intact, and managing to keep traffic flowing. Careful planning in this regard means minimum disruption to the public. Gibson Brothers have built a lot of roads in the North, and also in County Louth. County Manager Jack Keyes said the new road would have a number of positive effects on the town. "Firstly, it will give vastly improved access to the major industrial complexes to the north of the town, which are owned by the Quinn Group," he said. Secondly he explained that it will take most of the heavy traffic out of the centre of the town and that will have "hugely recreational, safety and amenity benefits". Mr Keyes added that a road like this at this time is a great boost to the economy of the town, in that people working on the project will be staying in the area and dining locally. "It gives a lot of confidence, because it is great to see a major infrastructural investment taking place," he said. The county manager also paid tribute to Sean Quinn who was one of the first people to make a very strong case to the NRA in regard to the necessity for such a relief road in the town. He also thanked the Oireachtas members and in particular Deputy Brendan Smith, who played a key role in moving the project forward.