After 25 years of debate and negotiation, the improvement of the final stretch of the troublesome and dangerous Delvin road (N52 ) was given the green light by the county council this week; however, it is expected the €5m project could take another two years to complete.
At the June meeting on Monday, members voted to give the council permission to proceed with the 1.5km stretch of carriageway re-alignment between Rathconnell and Macetown, about two kilometres from Mullingar.
However, this is just the start of it as the Roads Department must now go through the CPO process, get this approved by the NRA, publicly display the plans for six weeks, accept submissions, and then send the updated plan to An Bord Pleanala for an 18-week review before going to public tender for contractors. Allowing for statutory and unforeseen delays, and allied to the topography of the suggested route, it is hoped rather than expected to have this project completed by the summer of 2012.
This stretch of the N52, the main road from Dundalk to Limerick, has been the bane of many a councillor’s life over the years in their attempts to improve its safety, and it has only been straightened in a piecemeal fashion in the last number of years.
Cllr Dan McCarthy has been a regular champion of this cause and declared in the chamber on Monday: “Hopefully this will see an end to the fatalities on this stretch of road”.
Newly elected cathaoirleach, Cllr Mick Dollard, said he could remember the late Paddy Shaughnessy from Delvin calling for this “25 years ago”.
Cllr Aidan Davitt said he’d be “delighted to see this project pushed ahead because it’s a very dangerous stretch of road”.
Cllr Denis Leonard declared that Westmeath County Council deserved to be complimented “for listening so closely to locals’ concerns in relation to this work”.