Clare County Council, following consultation with Members of the West Clare Municipal District (MD), has announced a preferred solution to the long-standing traffic problems at Blakes Corner in Ennistymon.
A briefing of Councillors by Roughan and O’Donovan Consulting Engineers, who had been engaged by the Council to review the issue and design a scheme to deal with the problem, has confirmed that the emerging preferred solution would involve the construction of an inner relief road incorporating a new bridge across the Inagh River 80 metres upstream of the existing Conway Bridge and Blakes Corner.
The proposed inner relief road would link the Ennis Road with the Lahinch Road and would also involve an upgrading and realignment of Bogbere Street.
The next stage of the process will involve the development, in greater detail, of the proposal, the examination of potential environmental issues which the detailed design would have to consider and ultimately a formal Planning process will determine whether the proposal will get the green light to proceed to construction.
The timescale for completion of the proposed project will be dependent on formal planning approval in the first instance and then the availability of funding from the NRA to cover the cost of construction. Presently, the estimated cost of the project is in the region of €5 to €6 million.
Welcoming the recommendation, Chairman of the West Clare MD Councillor PJ Kelly, said “This is a significant and important milestone in the Council’s long running pursuit of a solution to this very difficult traffic problem which has compromised the functionality of the tourism industry, in particular, in the North Clare area for many years. The important thing now is to persist and see it through to the end as quickly as possible”
Tom Tiernan, Senior Engineer, Clare County Council commented: “For the past number of months, Roughan and O’Donovan Consulting Engineers have been identifying, examining and analysing a number of possible options. Two options were shortlisted, namely the originally envisaged widening of the junction adjacent to Blakes Corner (involving relocation of the protected buildings) and the Inner Relief Road which would bypass the existing junction and therefore would not interfere with the listed premises at Blakes Corner.”
“The fact that the Inner Relief Road option would not interfere with the old Blake and Linnane buildings but would instead facilitate their future rehabilitation is one of a number of factors which has influenced the current recommendation in its favour. The preferred solution will also provide for significant footpath improvements between Main Street and the Lahinch Road, including the provision of formal pedestrian crossings. The eight Elected Members West Clare MD confirmed their support for the recommended proposal,” added Mr. Tiernan.
“The fact that the NRA has come on board by its recognition of the urgency of resolution of the problem and its support for and engagement with the presently ongoing process is a real shot in the arm for the project. The Authority’s further allocation of €100,000 for 2015 will ensure that the formal Planning process can get underway as soon as possible,” concluded Mr. Tiernan.