The National Development Plan review announced today will include the N24 route which will be a vital piece of infrastructure for both the South East and Mid-West regions linking Limerick and Waterford, Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has said.
Senator Cummins said “In 2018, when Fine Gael were the only political party in Government, we made a commitment to invest in upgrading the N24, therefore I am delighted to see that commitment has been reinforced in the new National Development Plan. It is my view that the most important national road project to be delivered in the country in the years ahead will be the N24 that links Limerick to Waterford”.
A core priority under the National Planning Framework is the essential requirement to enhance and upgrade accessibility between urban centres of population and their regions, in parallel with the initiation of compact growth of urban centres. This will have a crucial role to play in maximising the growth potential of the regional urban centres and the economy as a whole.
The Waterford Senator acknowledged this is a long running issue;
“Clearly when Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was appointed Minister for Transport last year, concerns surfaced about the Government’s commitment to road projects nationally including the N24. Over the past twelve months I have highlighted these concerns both inside and outside the Seanad chamber. Collectively with my Fine Gael colleagues from across neighbouring counties we had advocated strongly from within government for this strategic route to be retained in the NDP.
“It would have been nonsensical to remove such a strategic roads project from the National Development plan, particularly as it can double up as an alternative route to Cork, utilising the existing M8 motorway.
Addressing Minister Ryan in the Seanad earlier this year Senator Cummins said “I am sure the Minister has been on this road and that he would agree it is one of the worst national primary routes in the country. The consultation documents for the Cahir to Limerick route, which closed last week, stated that the average speed of cars on the route currently stood at a pathetic 60 km/h to 65 km/h. Data show collisions on the route are higher than average. As the Minister knows, the target in the national planning framework is that inter-urban travel speed should be at least 90 km/h. We have a long way to go to get this route is up to the required standards.
“In order to future proof this route post-2040 for future generations, this route has to be of dual carriageway standard at a minimum. This is an integral piece of infrastructure and is probably even more important now in the context of Brexit and the onward connection to Rosslare Europort with direct links to Europe.
Potential options of the N24 between Cahir and Limerick Junction can be viewed on the project website, with Senator Cummins favouring the yellow or blue route. It is expected that the N24 between Cahir and Waterford will have their route options available for public consultation in November.