No decision on east-west link

The Transport Minister says the East-West road project “has some of the characteristics” needed to warrant its upgrading.

The long awaited project would see roads from Cavan to Dundalk upgraded to increase safety and make other improvements across the route. Towns such as Cootehill, Shercock and Carrickmacross would benefit from the works.

However, while first mooted over two decades ago, little progress has been made.

Raising the issue again with the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, local TD Brendan Smith (FF) said the route “carries a large volume of traffic” and is an “important artery in the border region and the northern half of our country”.

He cited the need for improvement and upgrade works to be carried out given the volume of traffic on the route and the long standing safety concerns and said he hoped funding could be allocated in the 2023 budget.

Responding to the concerns, Minister Ryan said “the prioritising of roads is something that Transport Infrastructure Ireland has a central role in”. However, he said the National Development Plan sets out the majority of major road projects expected over the next number of years.

“There is not too much negotiation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the capital side, because the figures are set out in the national development plan. The approach to take in investment priorities within that is also set out in the plan.”

However, he continues to say “local specifics” are taken into account in decision making.

“We have to take into account local specifics and areas, particularly where there is a lot of heavy haulage traffic and urban towns and villages that are getting that as through traffic.”

Minister Ryan says the east-west link route “has some characteristics of that”.

Planning work is being carried out by Cavan County Council on its section of the route. Preparatory work was carried out following the allocation of €130,000 in funding.