You are currently browsing the daily archive for 06/07/2010.

Another step in the ongoing Slane bypass marathon. According to the Irish Times, An Bórd Pleanála is examining an alternative western route for the proposed road, one that would run – in a move of eerie symmetry with the effect (on the World Heritage Site) of the original – ; “just 500m from Slane Castle and its famous concert site.” The sacred versus the profane?

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0702/1224273806050.html

This alternative proposal would necessitate the demolition of some local businesses and has, obviously, generated heated reactions from the people concerned;

“If they think I am a pushover they have another thing coming,” – Sir Henry Mountcharles, owner of Slane castle.

“This route would wipe out a lifetime’s work by my parents, me and my children. The route would go through the yard and house and takes the lot out… It is just not a viable option; it looks to be three times longer and the terrain is totally unsuitable and impractical. It doesn’t make sense and is squandering money,” – Paddy Macken, owner of Slane Farm Cottages and Hostel.
 
When I wrote about this at the time, I ventured the theory that cost-saving (economics) may have been the main reason behind choosing the more direct eastern route, but was assured that – on the contrary – it was chosen because it was the least destructive option for the many historical features of the wider area. Fair enough. When you are proposing alterations to (or destruction of the archaeology of) the sensitive environs of a World Heritage Site, factors such as the level of suitability of alternative terrain shouldn’t come into the equation – if it is any way feasible, at all, then it has to be used. Therefore, the references to length and practicality, in the latter quote have to be non-starters. I would, however, feel a large measure of sympathy for anyone who might lose their immediate surroundings, financial compensation notwithstanding.

Is there a need for a bypass? Dr. Edgar Morgenrath of the ESRI wrote, in the Irish Times last year, that; “It is remarkable that there are plans to facilitate the avoidance of the toll on the M1 by building a bypass around Slane involving the expensive construction of a bridge over the river Boyne when a simple HGV ban would solve the local traffic problems”. This is a point on which I still have some confusion. How much of the HGV traffic should actually be taking the Belfast/Dublin motorway, and not the N2?
 
The whole debate may be no more than academic for some time to come, in any case, despite the fears of locals focusing on the idea that ; “…a new route will delay the building of the bypass and risk more crashes.” Today’s Irish Independent carries the following news;

“FORTY major road projects and key rail and Luas projects have been scrapped because there is no money to build them… The axed projects will be confirmed in a government mid-term review of the National Development Plan (NDP), which is expected to be completed within weeks… The only projects considered “safe” under the NDP are Metro North, the Atlantic Corridor Road project linking Letterkenny to Waterford, and the underground DART.”

Hey, Buddy, can you spare a dime?

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