The emerging preferred route option of the 40 kilometre, dual carriageway from Westport to Bohola—which will merge with the Ballina to Bohola section—was announced by the Mayo National Roads Design Office on Wednesday.
The N5 project, which is being developed by the Mayo National Roads Design Office on behalf of Mayo County Council and the National Roads Authority, will, it seems, incorporate the Northern relief road from Westport, running south east of Castlebar, near Doogary (Breaffy ); Turlough, continuing south of Ballyvary to Bohola (see map on page two ).
This route emerged after five viable route options were placed on public display for consideration throughout the year and following an extensive procedure of assessments, consultations and the acquisition and consideration of a substantial volume of submissions received throughout the year.
According to Mr Tony McNulty, Senior Engineer with the Roads Design Office, further submissions are invited from the public—which went on public display in Westport on Wednesday, Castlebar on Thursday and Ballyvary Friday (today )—up until January 16 2009.
A large concern already demonstrated among the public, according to Mr McNulty, was in relation to the fact that the road might be built close to existing houses which would lead to excess noise, but Mr McNulty said that everything would be done to “mitigate this as much as possible” through noise control and landscaping.
The Senior Engineer also said that a number of houses “may be acquired” if this emerging preferred route is selected—the area of the Breaffy Road was highlighted, but according to Mr McNulty the public in these areas were made aware of this factor.
Mr McNulty explained that following the January 16 deadline and the “tweaking” of the route, in accordance with submissions received, then the preferred route will be announced. After this the NRA will review the route and it is hoped to bring it before Mayo County Council members at the April or March meeting (at the earliest ). If agreed upon by the council it will then be sent to An Bord Pleanála for consideration.
The Senior Engineer said that the go ahead for the project would be announced at the end of 2010 or at the beginning of 2011. However, Mr McNulty stressed that as the project falls under the remit of Transport 21 the project may be pushed back depending on how other projects in this scheme are progressing. The route, however, is designed in a way which can be phased if need be.