Public meeting this Monday to call for action on N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan link road
Members of the public are being invited to a meeting in Durrow Community Hall at 8pm this Monday (December 4), which will call on the Government to urgently reinstate funding for the long-promised N52 link road between Tullamore and Kilbeggan.
It's over a decade since plans were first drawn up for the development of the link road, but Government funding is not currently in place to progress the route.
Charlie Kelliher, chair of the Durrow Community Development committee, said road safety concerns in Durrow had been increasing in recent years, particularly in relation to the High Road junction, close to the local national school, community hall, church and graveyard.
He said for anyone coming from the High Road, turning right towards Kilbeggan could be a "frightful" experience.
"We want to be loud and clear in getting the message back to (Transport Minister) Eamon Ryan that the people of Durrow are unhappy about this, they are fearful, and at the moment it's really an accident waiting to happen.
"There are people who have fingers crossed that such an accident would not be a fatal one, and that is not being said lightly.
"They are the facts, because when you hear about all of the near misses it's only by the grace of God that nothing has happened so far."
The Durrow Community Development committee was re-established recently, and advancing the N52 link road project is its top priority.
Local councillors and Oireachtas members from Offaly and Westmeath have been invited to attend Monday's meeting, which Mr Kelliher said would give voice to "the feelings of the community of Durrow and communities beyond Durrow who are affected by this as well."
He pointed out that the road safety issues at present were not just a problem for parents of children at Durrow National School, but were affecting the farming community and businesses also.
Members of the Durrow community and all other interested parties are invited to attend the public meeting in Durrow Community Hall (R35 D684) on Monday at 8pm.
In early November, Deputy Barry Cowen questioned Minister Ryan in the Dáil about the road project.
In his response, Minister Ryan said that, despite funding not being in place currently, the route remained part of the Government's National Development Plan (NDP).
"Projects such as the N52 from Kilbeggan to Tullamore, which did not have the required funding to be progressed, remain part of the NDP and will be considered for funding in future years. Allocations for projects in 2024 are being finalised and will be announced in the near future," said Minister Ryan.
Although the emerging preferred route for the new link road was published in May last, the project was not allocated funding by Transport Infrastructure Ireland in either 2022 or 2023.
The emerging preferred route for the new N52 link road has been costed at €77.2 million. Around 40% of the emerging preferred route (3.3km) uses the existing stretch; 4.8km is new.