Calls for major upgrade of main Offaly road
There are growing calls for the main road between Edenderry and Tullamore to be classified as a national route and undergo major upgrade works.
A motion to that end was brought a meeting of Offaly County Council on Monday by Edenderry councillor for Fianna Fail, Robert McDermott.
His motion stated: "I call on Offaly County Council through its Chief Executive, Ms. Anna Marie Delaney and Director of Services including roads, Mr. Tom Shanahan, to contact the Minister at the Department of Transport immediately to seek a meeting for the purposes of reclassify / upgrade the existing R402 and a section of the R420, namely from the Cloncollig Roundabout to Ballina Cross, to a National Road under The Roads Act 1993 Part 10.
"The purpose and main benefit of this would be to have a National Road from Edenderry in the North of the County and Birr in the South, thus linking both sides of the County. As we are aware, the N52 currently goes through the South of the County and as far North as Tullamore where it links with the Tullamore bypass. This proposal would see the upgrade starting at the Cloncollig Roundabout and continue through Ballinagar, Daingean, Edenderry and hopefully onto exit 9 at the M4 Motorway at Enfield," Cllr McDermott continued.
North Offaly is designated a Commuter Area in the County Development Plan. The two main towns in North Offaly are Edenderry and Portarlington. These towns are described as Self Sustaining Towns in the County Development Plan.
"In order to continue the development in this region and hopefully attract inward investment, a reclassification to a National Road is needed," McDermott added.
"The new road from Enfield to Edenderry which opened in 2014 provides a top-class link from the M6 to North Offaly providing the platform for this reclassification. The reclassification of this route would help to drive the development of this route as a gateway to North Offaly. It would also increase the attractiveness of Edenderry and the surrounding areas as a place for enterprise and development, located on a National route with easy access to the Greater Dublin Area.
"The traffic volumes on the R402 are comparable with National Secondary routes throughout the region, with typical daily volume between 5,000 and 10,000 vehicles, with volumes of 18,000 experienced through Edenderry. These volumes are comparable to the N52 and exceed volumes on the N62."
Michael Nolan, CEO of the Transport Infrastructure Ireland in a September 2020 report stated: “The upgrade, maintenance and development of Ireland’s road network is a critical enabler of economic growth, as well as enabling the realisation of some of the National Strategic Outcomes and Strategic Investment Priorities of the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework.
"It has been said that roads represent the first social network. They are fundamental building blocks for economic growth, access to services and social cohesion and support the transition to a low carbon future.”
The motion garnered the support of other councillors and Offaly County Council will now write to Transport Infrastructure Ireland to request the reclassification.