Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has said that approval of planning permission for Athy’s long awaited Ring Road, the Southern Distributor Route is a key step in progress towards the road completion.

“Despite many years of discussion and planning for this crucial road project, there has never been planning permission granted for the route. This is a key milestone on the way to securing the road that will ease traffic congestion in Athy.  While road projects in Kildare and other parts of the Country have fought to secure funding to proceed, the Athy road has always been a step behind without full planning permission.

“Credit is due to the project team at Kildare County Council led by engineer Clodagh Lyons on their work on the many detailed and technical reports and submissions that were required for the An Bord Pleanala Application. Confirmation of the inclusion of this project in the National Capital Plan by the Government in 2014 allowed KCC to proceed with the planning application which they had not been in a position to do up to now.  At this time I worked closely with my colleague then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to ensure the road was included on the list.

“Kildare County Council will now sequence the works and costs associated with the next steps which include significant preparatory works and notice to treat for Compulsory Purchase Orders. We will then be clear on the timeline of cashflows needed for the coming months and years. I will now go back to my colleagues in Government in the Department of Transport, Public Expenditure and the Taoiseach to confirm that planning permission has now been received and the project is ready to proceed to the next steps.  These next steps will require sanction and drawdown of the larger portion of the funds associated with this project.

“While the full cost of this project was included in the National Capital Plan in 2014 which allowed the planning application to proceed, the timelines for drawdown of those funds were unclear and these must now be confirmed and managed by the Department of Transport in conjunction with other ongoing national road projects, a large proportion of which are already ongoing in Co. Kildare.

“As a Government TD for this constituency I believe it is my responsibility to ensure that funds are available as they are needed by Kildare County Council to allow the next phases to proceed. I will be making it a priority to liaise with my Government and Kildare County Council colleagues to ensure this happens.