Since the confirmation by Government of funding for the road last May, work has recommenced within KCC to now bring the Athy ring road to planning. The project had never proceeded to planning stage before due to the lack of funding confirmation. Since May 2014, the council advertised, held interviews and has appointed Clodagh Lyons as the project engineer. It is now her job to prepare all elements of the planning application to get it to An Bord Pleanala as soon as possible.

Following numerous meetings in recent months with the new County Manager Peter Carey I am reassured that this project remains the Council’s Number One infrastructural project to be delivered in the County. The Council have recently informed us that Roughan & O’Donovan /AECOM have now been appointed as consultant engineers for the Project. Their role is to review the existing Design, Environmental Impact Statement, and update the previous traffic survey. These elements are all required to be up to date before a planning application can be submitted. Athy residents may have noticed the black lines on the road in the past week. These are traffic counters which are carrying out a survey of town traffic to form part of the submission that will be required for the planning application.

The Council have also recently held a meeting with Iarnrod Eireann to progress that part of the application. The commitment by Government last year to fund this project through to completion was vital in reactivating the process as the project had been stalled for many years in the absence of funding confirmation. Once planning permission has been achieved for a project such as this, a number of tight timelines and financial commitments fall into place that must be met. For that reason, planning permission could not be applied for before securing confirmation that all required funding was available to bring the project to completion.

While I appreciate that many Athy residents are frustrated with the level of progress, it is imperative that we don’t jeopardise our planning application by rushing it. Now that funding has been committed, progress is being made. I along with Cllr Ivan Keatley will continue to keep it a priority and push KCC to ensure that planning application is submitted as soon as possible.