The Managing Director of Supermacs has revealed that mid to late May of 2020 is the date that the new plaza in Togher in Portlaoise is set to fully open.
Speaking at the launch of the second Laois-Offaly Garda Youth Awards in the Killeshin Hotel yesterday, Pat McDonagh said that works were progressing well and that should this continue, the new Supermacs will be open at Junction 17 off the M7 then.
Back in July, the green light was granted for the €10m project after An Bord Pleanala dismissed an appeal from Petrogas – the fuel group and the parent company of service station operator, Applegreen.
Petrogas has recently opened a filling station and shop a short distance away at the other side of Junction 17 next to the Midway hotel and food court complex.
It appealed the decision of Laois County Council to grant planning permission for the new motorway services site to Mr McDonagh on the basis that it was already meeting the need for a motorway services areas at the location.
However, when that appeal was rejected, works began immediately and according to Mr McDonagh, the project is going very well.
He said: “We’re looking forward to it opening in the early summer of 2020.
“The crew are working very well. I believe there is a dig going on at the moment because there was some sort of archaeological find in it so that is continuing at the moment.
“But we are still on target for mid to late May of next year. The guys are doing a great job out there – a local firm called Killeens are doing the work and it is progressing very well.”
Speculation had been growing that a new road would need to be built to connect the new plaza to the motorway but Mr McDonagh says they plan to expand the existing road from the roundabout out towards Togher instead.
He said: “We will be widening the existing road from the roundabout down to it. There are a lot of other businesses down there as you know.
“Glanbia are building a cheese plant and there are another two or three who are going to come in in the next two to three years as well.
“So it is going to be a busy spot out there. It is good for Laois and good for Portlaoise as well because personally, I believe that every county town in any county should be trying to progress and keep jobs going as opposed to heading off to Dublin.
“So the more employment that can be created the better.”
And he once again reiterated his previous commitment that the plant will create around 100 jobs when operational.
Pat said: “In the construction phase alone, at the moment there are around 25 or so people working full time and that will progress as you move on.
“There will be 100 as you get towards the end. When it opens – we have 140 working in the Obama Plaza because it is a 24 hour 7-day week operation – so here I would expect somewhere around 100.
“As it progresses on, hopefully we will add further aspects to it as well.”