Portarlington-based Laois County Councillor Aidan Mullins says “there are enough things in Portarlington screaming out for funding” without having €1million ring-fenced for a relief road which he says “will never be built”.
Cllr Mullins highlighted a number of reasons why it doesn’t make sense for the road to be built, one which was initially drawn up in 2009 and before various other projects were completed or proposed.
€1million has been set aside by the Council for that road which would go from the Canal Road near the industrial estate and essentially around the back of the town before going over the Barrow and out on the Offaly side at the Riverside Apartments near the graveyeard.
But Cllr Mullins says that it cuts through allotments, existing housing estates and two proposed sites for Council housing.
“It’s the road to nowhere,” he said, speaking afterwards. “It’s absolutely ludicrous. It cuts through Lansdowne and Riverside Estate. It cuts across the site with the allotments, it’s cutting through a site where the council are to commence social housing for 22 houses and another site where there are plans for over 40 houses.
“The proposed route also goes over the Barrow through the Riverside Apartments – but Offaly have no plans for it on their side. The cost of all this would be outrageous.
“There is €1million is sitting there not being used. I have to question that. I don’t think this road is viable or credible.”
Cllr Tom Mulhall added that the road “has to be re-routed”. “It’s can’t go where it’s being planned for,” he said.
The response from Farhan Nasiem, a senior engineer with the Council, stated that the proposed relief road is in the local area plan but that “construction of relief road is subject to future development of are and capital investment” but “at present there are no plans for construction of relief road”.
“Alignment of the road will be reviewed for delivery of the scheme at detailed design and construction stage.”