The withdrawal of objections lodged with An Bord Pleanala to compulsory purchase orders for the Portlaoise Orbital Southern Road has been described as “great news” for the vital Portlaoise project.
“This is great news and now means that we can proceed to the next stage which is formally publish the CPO – done yesterday. The CPO becomes effective 30 days after this,” said council director of services Kieran Kehoe.
“We can now complete the tender documentation and submit them to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for approval to go to tender which we hope will happen either late 2017 or early 2018 – i.e. advertise scheme for tender,” he said.
“We met with Minister Shane Ross and Minister Charlie Flanagan last Monday and this was the top priority item discussed,” Mr Kehoe added.
The orbital road has been described as a vital piece of infrastructure for Laois.
It is expected to greatly alleviate traffic congestion associated with several new schools built in the Aghnaharna area including Gaelscoil Phortlaoise, Portlaoise Educate Together and the Holy Family schools.
The Holy Family junior and senior schools opened its doors to 1,400 pupils in September, with significant traffic congestion endured there.
The landowners subject to the compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) include the GAA, the ESB, Aldi and Cllr Willie Aird.
Several landowners off the Abbeyleix Road have been put on notice by the council that it is to acquire more land under CPO to allow the extension of the Southern Circular Route ring road to the south of the town.
The new route will allow traffic to divert off the N80 and away from Portlaoise town centre.
The importance of this route, which has so far received funding of €1 million, was stressed during the ministerial visit on Monday.
“Over the past number of months, I have been working closely with Shane (Ross) and his Department in relation to progressing important capital infrastructure projects for county Laois including the Portlaoise Southern Orbital Relief Road,” Minister Flanagan said.