Below is a copy of my submission made to Kildare County Council Roads Department today in the route selection for the Southern Distrubutor Route for Athy.
A relief ring road for Athy is absolutely essential for the towns residents and businesses alike. The return on the capital investment is clearly proven by the very high cost benefit ratio the project has.
Obviously the route of the new road is very important in firstly relieving traffic congestion and pressure on the town but also in minimising any potential negative impact on local business, residents, clubs and organisations.
The new route must be future proofed for
1) The ongoing development of the town
2) To meet the future demands of existing residents and businesses
3) To aid the future development of industry and employment in the coming years
While route option A on the northern part of the town would assist to alleviate the traffic going to and from the schools campus on the Monasterevin road I have concerns about this option at this point in time. The route is 25% longer than the southern options and has extra crossings making it a more expensive option. I believe that it also would take significantly longer to deliver than he southern options. It is my belief that once a southern ring road is secured the northern option to complete a full ring of the town should be the next target. However for the quickest delivery of this badly needed relief road I believe that it must be a southern option.
C1 option, while in the town plan and was the previously preferred route would negatively impact on the showgrounds and Athy Rfc significantly. Most towns around the country would love to have a shared sports campus in its town environs that caters for Rugby, Soccer, Gaa and tennis clubs like the show grounds does. Athy Rfc caters for 100’s of under age players, boys and girls combined, not to mention a thriving adult section. This club, with a long and proud history, plays a critical role in providing the youth of Athy town and surrounding areas with a vital sporting outlet. In light of this, all efforts should be made to avoid the delivery of the new road negatively impacting on the club and show grounds.
The history of a ring road for Athy stretches back over 40 years and has been hugely contentious. Different route options have been considered and the towns people were, for a long time, divided by which option they supported. Everyone in Athy wants a relief road to improve life in the town but in planning to finally deliver this road we should avoid a route that would force a lot of people to come out to object to it. If route C1 is selected, it is my belief that a very significant campaign would be mounted to stop it by people who actually want a road, but whom are fighting to protect their club and grounds. For the good of Athy and it’s people this must be avoided and on that basis I am against route C1.
My choice would be for a variant of route C or possibly a C2 option (which has been mentioned but does not feature on the present consultation map) I would like the C2 option to be progressed ahead of the second round of public consultation next February. The impact on local businesses also needs to be considered and where possible minimised. Ultimately the people of Athy have waited too long for this relief road, I am glad we have now moved to a phase where we are discussing the different route options rather than discussing is the road ever coming. What is needed now is the selection of a route option that will come through An Bord Pleanala with planning and local support, to allow us to deliver it as soon as possible and in line with the funding that has been committed to by this Government.