Bypass plans are put on long finger
BUT ACQUISITION OF LAND TO CONTINUE
THE FUTURE looks bleak for County Wexford's two biggest infrastructure projects after Wexford County Council admitted it was unclear when significant work would take place on either the Enniscorthy or New Ross bypasses.
Cllr Martin Murphy pointed out at the local authority's meeting that the Department of Transport had declared that no major schemes would begin in either 2012 or 2013 due to the woeful state of the country's finances.
' We expected the New Ross bypass to start in 2012 and take two years,' said Cllr Murphy. He asked Director of Roads Services Adrian Doyle to clarify 'if there's no prospect of any progress until 2015 or 2016 at the earliest?'
Cllr Paddy Kavanagh expressed similar concerns about the Enniscorthy bypass project, noting that Notice to Treat was served on October 15, 2010, and Wexford County Council will be buying the land, with claims for compensation from the affected landowners due in by December 18 last.
In New Ross, Notice to Treat has also been served to all landowners and claims for compensation are under discussion between the county council and landowners' respective valuers.
Cllr Kavanagh said it was 'very unsatisfactory from the point of view of landowners' that it would now be 'a very long drawn-out process'.
Adrian Doyle confirmed the department said no major projects would start before 2013, but said that it's unclear what will happen in 2015 or 2016.
He said the National Roads Authority ( NRA) operates a three-year rolling budget and they should know roughly in the middle of next year what projects they will be in a position to start down the line.
In relation to the Notices to Treat served in Enniscorthy and New Ross, Mr Doyle said that - despite the fact that the projects won't start for several years now - ' procurement of land will continue, that's the position we're taking on it'.
'If we are told otherwise, it would effectively mean the abandonment of both projects,' said Mr Doyle. He said that landowners along both routes won't lose out during the Compulsory Purchase Order process and interest applies to payments the minute an agreement is reached.
Cllr Declan MacPartlin asked about the prospects of payments being made to landowners any time soon. Mr Doyle told him that depends on allocations made towards the respective bypass projects.
However, the Director of Roads Services pointed out that the county council also knows little about what the future holds for both projects, other than what the Department of Transport has said on the matter.