Ballina based Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin this week said that the chance of seeing an upgrade of the N26 is coming back on track. Dep Mulherin said: “I am absolutely delighted to be informed today by Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, that a Strategic Transport Study for the N26 Phase II will now be conducted to identify an alternative national road connection to Ballina. I am relieved and very pleased that the N26 is back on track again after the many meetings I have had with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport to progress the project. I have left no stone unturned in that regard.”
This news comes in the week after a delegation from Mayo County Council met with the NRA to lobby for projects in the county. That meeting was headed up by Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, chairperson of the Roads SPC of the council. Cllr Munnelly told the Advertiser last week that the N26 had been discussed and the NRA had indicated that a lot of work that had already been done could be used again. “In regard to the N26 they said that a lot of the planning and design work that has been already done was right, and could be used again, with tweaks where needed, to deal with the issues that led to An Bord Pleanála rejecting the application in the first place. But those changes would have to be made first. Getting funding in place to enable those changes to be made is where we need to focus the political pressure from now on.”
Cllr Mulherin went on to say that this new study will be carried out by the NRA in conjunction with Mayo County Council and will commence this year. She also said that this news was the first major step forward on the scheme since An Bord Pleanála turned down the original planning application for the project in February 2010.