• Several fatalities and accidents recorded
• on stretch of N24 over past 16 years
• Over €5.5m to be spent on 1.9km route
Eoghan Dalton Reports
A Mooncoin Councillor has blasted the long wait for a new route in place of the main Waterford to Carrick-on-Suir road. While local representatives welcomed news that a road 1.9km in length would be developed just north of Mooncoin, fears persist that further accidents will happen on the N24 before the new route is opened in late 2022.
The notorious stretch of the N24 west of the South Kilkenny village has been the site of several fatalities and accidents over the past decade.
However, Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG) told this month’s Piltown Municipal District meeting that there were two further accidents on the road over Christmas which resulted in a car overturning into a field in each case. “I know that we’re moving ahead [but] people are saying it’s too slow, that this needs to be done urgently,” he said. The road was previously a 100kmph zone before lobbying reduced it to 80kmph, but Cllr Dunphy posed whether it could be reduced to 60kmph while the new road is built.
He told the meeting that it should be chased up with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) as the State body responsible for the national route.A substantial feasibility study numbering over 200 pages was completed for Kilkenny County Council (KCC) on the scheme, which eventually recommended the new route north of Mooncoin. KCC have received approval for the road which will cost in excess of €5.5 million.
The feasibility study recorded that there were two fatalities on that stretch of the N24 from 2004 to 2017, two collisions which resulted in minor injuries and another five collisions which caused damage to the cars involved. There have been a further two road deaths since 2017.
“I saw the report from the TII and one of the reasons that that job is going ahead is because of the fatalities and accidents,” Cllr Dunphy continued.“They’re continuing to happen and [the project] is moving at a snail’s pace.”
He said that the public will be unhappy to “hear it’s going to be two or three years before anything is completed there”. “It’s not acceptable to be honest especially when accidents are happening.” Chairman Cllr Eamon Aylward (FF) agreed with him on the issue.
The hope is that the new road will be linked with the proposed Waterford to Cahir route in years to come. Seamus McCarthy, senior engineer with KCC, outlined to the Munster Express the estimated timetable for the project.
The first step is for an environmental impact report and then the planning application will begin in March. That will take approximately 20 weeks.In Q3 of this year the Council will carry out compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) of land for the route and tender documents will be issued in the final quarter of 2020. On site works would get underway around midway through 2021 and it is envisioned that will take 12-18 months.
Mr McCarthy said that when the works are done, the current road will be “declassified” and will no longer be a national road.This would mean powers for speed limits would be transferred to the local authority instead of TII. “The old route will become a regional road and be under our remit then,” Mr McCarthy added.
However he said the Council will lobby TII to consider lowering the limit during the interim period ahead of the new route being completed.