Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne queried this week how much had been spent so far on the design and consultation stage for the N4 Westport to Turlough road project. He and the other members of Castlebar Town Council were given an update on the project by Mr Paul Hyland from the Mayo National Roads Design Office. When Cllr Kilcoyne posed the question he was told that in the region of €3 million so far including consultant costs had been spent.
Speaking to the Advertiser after the meeting, the independent councillor said: “We’ve seen €3 million spent on it so far and not a route formally decided or a shovel in the ground. It once again raises the concerns of the management of the NRA of projects like this. We are moving ahead as we can, but there is no guarantee that we won’t have to spend another €3 million before we see anything done on this road.”
At the meeting concerns were expressed by both Sinn Féin councillor Therese Ruane and Labour Party councillor Harry Barrett about the potential effect the road could have on the business in the town and who both requested further information. Independent councillor Frank Durcan also called for a change to the installation of wire central barriers between the carriageways stating they were a “death trap” and were ‘being removed by most European countries and we’re putting it in.” He also said he would like to see the inclusion of a hard shoulder for safety purposes, but that is not planned for in the project.
The next stage of the process will be the variation of the Westport Town and Environs Development Plan, due to a change in the route to the north of the town. Public information events to highlight this will be held in Westport on June 12, Turlough on June 13, and Westport on June 14. It is hoped that environmental impact statements, design, and compulsory purchase orders will be updated by the third quarter of this year and NRA approval to proceed to the statutory process will be achieved. The whole process will see the acquisition of 690 acres of land, six houses, and 250 landholdings for the 27km long project, which will have 25km of type two dual carriageway and 2km of main line single carriageway.