Five routes outlined for Virginia bypass

The second phase of the public consultation on the proposed Virginia N3 bypass commences from today (Wednesday), November 11, with the public asked to give its views on the proposed route, which has been shortlisted to five paths (see map on page 7 across).

The consultation, which will be run in a virtual capacity due to ongoing Covid health restrictions, will conclude early next month, December 9.

A virtual public consultation room will be accessible at www.innovision.ie/n3virginiabypass, while a physical display of plans will be housed in the poster box at Ramor Theatre, in the window of Virginia Show Centre, and on a display board on the island in front of Virginia courthouse.

Feedback from the public is requested on or before December 23.

It follows a two-day public consultation on the proposed plans at the Virginia Show Centre back in March, which was subsequently extended for a period because of the pandemic.

Nine possible route options at the start - four to the west of Lough Ramor, towards Oldcastle, and five to the east, on the Killinkere side - have now been whittled down to five, with variations or links between each.

There is now just one option remaining on the Oldcastle side of the lake, and four on the Killinkere direction, all of which look to extend and improve the existing N3 roadway, which ends at Derver, north of Kells.

All corridors are 300 metres wide allowing for further refinement if necessary.

Cavan Council, in partnership with its counterparts in Meath and TII, are progressing development of the plans.

Once decided, the total estimated cost of delivering the project, contained within the Ireland 2014 plan, could be high as €130m.

Up to €2.1 million of that is to be spent on finalising a route over the coming years - with €100,000 to be spent by the end of 2020, and €1m each in 2021 and 2022.

Factored in too is the Council's ambition to open-up an 81-acre stretch of land seen as critical for industrial development in that part of the county.

Work is already underway to rezone the Burncarragh lands east of Virginia town, recently examined by an unnamed US-based pet food company for potential investment.

Overall, the Virginia bypass project remains at Phase 2 (options selection) in the TII roadmap for development, with a preferred route expected to be finalised in Spring/Summer 2021.

The shortlisted route options now form part of Phase 2 (Project Appraisal Matrix), to be assess in greater detail in the coming months.

Barry Transportation has been appointed by the council as technical advisors through phases 1-4.

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