Saturday 17 August 2019

Enniscorthy's traffic woes set to be cured

THE NOTION of bypassing Enniscorthy dates back to the 1980s when solutions mooted for curing the town's snarl-ups included an elaborate bridge over the Slaney at the Bare Meadows south of the town. It never happened. Eventually, money – or the lack of it – talked and a cut-price solution was adopted in the early Nineties.

Instead of diverting EuroRoute One around the town once and for all, the road from Scarawalsh to Blackstoops was given a major upgrade and the quays became a massive roundabout where town and national traffic swirled around. This was achieved by building a new bridge to take some of the strain off the 19th-century original.

The limitations of this solution have been the bane of all the motorists following the main road going south on any busy Friday evening ever since as they sit yawning in the perennial Island Road tailback. Throughout the week, local business is conducted in uneasy co-existence with drivers who have no interest whatever in being in Enniscorthy.

The Rafter bridge had scarcely on the consultants' map snaked out from Scarawalsh a couple of miles north of town instead. Most of the routes proposed that west was the way to go but, in the end, it was decided that the bypass should cut a swathe east of Enniscorthy. A relief road linking M11 (Gorey to Wexford) with N30 (Enniscorthy to New Ross) also featured.

The momentous announcement was made in November 2001. The slumbering project has fitfully forced its way back into the public consciousness since. The main development was the addition of a Camolin and Ferns bypass to the plans. Now the expectation is that new motorway will run from Clough to Oylegate, at a cost of €200m.

It was originally hoped that the road would be ready to drive on in 2007 but that target proved an over-ambitious mirage. The best current estimate is 2018, more than a decade later than planned.

Archaeological surveys have been carried out and the business of acquiring the land is well advanced but it will be at least two years before any shovels are on site. been officially opened by Minister Padraig Flynn before officials were looking to find a feasible route for a genuine bypass. Galway-based consultants were called to look at the issue and they came up with at least four possible corridors.

The notion of branching off from the Blackstoops roundabout beside Ivan Yates's ancestral home on the outskirts of the town proved impossible. The best efforts of the planners could not restrain development in The Moyne and along the Kiltealy Road.

So it was that the colourful lines

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