1) What is the Project?
Limerick City and County Council is working in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport to develop a scheme to relieve congestion on the N21 Limerick to Tralee Road through Newcastle West. This project is called the N21 Newcastle West Road Scheme. This is an important project to enhance regional connectivity and to improve road safety.
Limerick City and County Council has appointed Jacobs Consulting Engineers to advance the projects through the planning and design process. Subject to funding, the design process will be developed in phases, with opportunities for the public to participate in the decision-making at key stages.
2) What is the need for this project?
The project aims to deliver on the strategies and objectives of Project Ireland 2040 comprising the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027 and the National Planning Framework. The Scheme will address issues of safety, journey time and capacity along the N21, which is a national primary road and part of the Ten-T network. The scheme will enhance regional connectivity between the South-West and Mid-West Regions of Ireland. It will significantly improve transport connectivity and provide more efficient access to other strategic national roads such as the N23 and N22 to the south and the M20, N18/M18, M7 and N24 to the north and east.
The project will have positive benefits on the urban environment of Newcastle West and will improve the quality of life of commuters and residents through improved journey times and the provision of new cycling and walking facilities.
3) How likely is the scheme to be built?
The N21 Newcastle West Road Scheme has been identified within the National Development Plan 2018-2027 as a key project to be taken forward through pre-appraisal and early planning. Further advancement of the scheme is subject to ongoing funding and statutory approvals.
4) How will the scheme be progressed?
The TII Project Management Guidelines provide a framework for a phased approach to the management of the development and delivery of National Road and Public Transport Capital Projects.
The scheme development is currently at Phase 2 Option Selection. It is a 3-stage process. Stage 1 considered the identified constraints to develop a range of feasible options within the Study Area. Those initial options have been shortlisted to identify Route Corridor Options for consideration in the next stage of the Option Selection process. Stage 2 will involve an in-depth assessment of each Route Corridor Option to identify a Preferred Option. The Preferred Option will go on public display and the public will be invited to make submissions or comment on the Preferred Option before it is confirmed during Stage 3.
5) What does a route corridor represent?
The route corridor options are typically 400m wide. A corridor does not represent the actual width of the road scheme or the lands to be acquired – the corridor indicates the lands within which a road scheme could be developed. It should be noted that the boundary of a route corridor may be subject to change as the project develops, to address any new or previously unidentified constraints emerging during the design process.
6) Can a route corridor option change?
Feedback obtained from public consultations and ongoing surveys and environmental/engineering assessments will be considered by the Project Team and, if appropriate, route corridor options may be adjusted.
7) In Stage 1 of the Option Selection Phase, what criteria were used to reduce the number of initial feasible route corridor options to the shortlisted route corridor options?
Stage 1 of the TII Option Selection process is the ‘Preliminary Options Assessment’. The assessment criteria for the initial feasible route corridor options were ‘Engineering’, ‘Environment’ & ‘Economy’.
8) How are route corridor options assessed to identify the Preferred Option?
Feedback and comments received from the non-statutory public consultation on the route corridor options will be considered by the Project Team when assessing these options during Stage 2 of the Option Selection Phase. The assessment criteria for Stage 2 will be ‘Economy’, ‘Safety’, ‘Environment’, ‘Accessibility and Social Inclusion’, ‘Integration’ and ‘Physical Activity’.
Stage 2 of the Options Selection Phase will identify a Preferred Option.
9) Will the scheme involve demolition of residential property?
The shortlisted options are between 5km and 9km in length, with options skirting the town centre. It is likely that some residential properties will be affected, and it is possible that a small proportion may need to be purchased to facilitate the scheme. Each residential property is considered a constraint and in so far as possible, the scheme will seek to avoid and/ or minimise impacts. If residential property acquisition is required to facilitate the Preferred Option, affected property owners will be consulted directly by the Project Team as the design of the scheme develops.
10) How will land be acquired? Will I be compensated?
Given the scale of the project, it is likely that all lands required for the scheme will be acquired through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). Should any part of a person’s private land/ property holding be included in the CPO, the land/property owner is entitled to compensation. This may also be the case for a person who may have an interest in any land/ property identified in the CPO. Compensation will be provided in accordance with CPO legislation.
11) Will this project affect the planning application process in the area?
The Planning Department in Limerick City and County Council are responsible for planning and managing development within the county. New planning applications within the Study Area may have an impact on the delivery of a future road scheme. Planning applications and new developments may still be granted within the Study Area/route corridors, however as some planning applications may affect the scheme all relevant planning applications will be reviewed by the design team. Each application will be considered on a case by case basis and a considered engineering opinion will be formed in relation to the potential impact of the application on the scheme. In some cases, an application may be considered premature subject to the Preferred Option being determined.
12) What will the status of bypassed sections of national roads be post completion?
The status of bypassed sections of national road has not been determined at this time. Bypassed sections of national roads may remain as a national road or may be reclassified to regional or local roads following construction of new sections of the national route.
13) What is the relevance of input from members of the public?
The Project Team will consider inputs from members of the public, such as submissions received through the public consultation processes, or identification of local issues. This will contribute to the development of the route selection process and scheme design.
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