The need to resurface the Athlone bypass road and reduce the noise levels which impact upon residents who live in close proximity to the route was afforded much detailed consideration at the recent sitting of the Athlone-Moate Municipal District (AMMD ).
Raising the issue, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, called upon the AMMD executive to make immediate contact with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII ) and request the road authority to resurface the bypass, replacing the existing standard surface with a low noise equivalent to enable noise level reduction by at least 10 decibels, which, as a first measure, would make a huge difference for those residents currently living with intolerable noise along this road.
“There is an urgent need to mitigate noise levels which are currently arising from the sheer volume of traffic using the Athlone bypass on a daily basis. The road must be resurfaced with a low noise equivalent so as to mitigate decibel levels which are detrimentally impacting residents living in close proximity to the route.
“We can look to reduce speed levels and erect acoustic barriers at specific locations along the bypass but the need is now great for a complete resurfacing. The current surface was previously laid over 10 years previously and is now beyond its best use, so now is the time to act,” Cllr O’Rourke asserted.
Noting that a consultant’s report was in the process of being prepared with a view to the resurfacing of the bypass, Cllr O’Rourke stated that there was “no need to await the contents of such a report when we all know that the bypass requires urgent attention”.
Affording her thoughts, Green Party Councillor, Louise Heavin, stated that traffic from the Athlone bypass was clearly audible in her place of residence two kilometres from the route.
“Even though I live two kilometres away from the bypass I can clearly hear the traffic as it passes along the route on a daily basis. I am aware that we are awaiting a consultant’s report in relation to noise levels along the bypass and I am of the opinion that it would be best to approach TII with our request upon receipt of the completed report as we would then have a stronger case,” Cllr Heavin commented.
Cllr Frankie Keena noted the accumulative “stress and annoyance” caused to those residents living in close proximity to the bypass.
“The stress and annoyance levels continue to rise amongst residents living close to the bypass. As traffic noise levels increase, conversations conducted in the back gardens of such residences are barely audible. Residents can’t open their windows with regard to the escalating noise levels with traffic on the route now returning to pre-pandemic levels,” Cllr Keena remarked.
Independent Councillor, Paul Hogan, queried the need for a consultant’s input stating that a previous noise quantification and mitigation report with regard to the bypass was conducted in 2017.
“Do we need a further consultant’s report to assess the same stretch of road which we have previously addressed? The residents living in Garrycastle, Cloghanboy, Arcadia and Priory Park and further large scale residential estates are being detrimentally effected on a regular basis, The data is readily available in terms of both traffic and decibel levels and we must access this information,” Cllr Hogan stressed.
In response, director of services, Mr Barry Kehoe, stated that there would be “marginal benefit” replacing the low noise stone mastic asphalt which was laid on the Athlone bypass approximately 10 years previously.
“The surface has lasted well but is not as robust now. Stone mastic asphalt has an approximate 10 year lifespan and we are now in advance of this particular time period. We will endeavour to engage with TII to ascertain how soon we can have a surfacing layer laid on the bypass.
“There is a consultant conducting a noise quantification and mitigation report at present. Specialised equipment is being used to record the relevant data and when the information is correlated we can devise appropriate measures to reduce noise levels along the bypass.
“Unfortunately, we do not have relevant expertise ‘in house’, but I would expect to have an outcome by year end. In the meantime, we shall issue a letter, as requested, to the TII,” Mr Kehoe asserted.