Council urged to prioritise Ennis North Inner Relief Road project

Congestion during peak traffic periods on the Tulla Road and Gort Road areas of Ennis could be significantly eased with the completion of the Ennis North Inner Relief Road, according to Independent Clare T.D Michael McNamara.

Deputy McNamara has written to Clare County Council urging the Local Authority to revisit the proposal to link the roads, which he said would divert traffic away from the centre of Ennis and the Fair Green area and improve general traffic flow on the northern and eastern sides of the town.

“It was originally intended that the Inner Relief Road would link the R458 Gort Road to Oakleigh Wood and The Maples Distributor Road and onwards to the Cappahard and Roslevan Roundabouts on the R352 Tulla Road,” he explained. “However, no progress has been made since 2018 when Phase One of the project, comprising a 520m road link from the Gort Road to the Clare Technology Park, was officially opened.”

“While the Council has confirmed to me that that the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2023-2029 contains an infrastructural safeguard identifying the route, I am concerned that the eventual linking up of the Gort and Tulla Road could take many years rather than being positioned as an essential infrastructure project for the town,” stated Deputy McNamara.

He continued, “Clare County Council has indicated to me that progression of this project will initially be driven by the natural and authorised extension of the Oakleigh Wood / The Maples Distributor Road facilitating residential developments. Such a position means the project does not have a specific timeframe, nor does it adequately consider the significant traffic levels that could be diverted away from the middle of Ennis by linking the northern and eastern sides of the town. This is particularly disappointing considering the Clare Technology Park on the Gort Road is only half a kilometre from Oakleigh Wood / The Maples on the Tulla Road.”

“I call on Clare County Council Elected Members and staff within the Physical Development Directorate to examine the potential for progressing the project sooner and applying for the necessary government funding. I also would suggest that consideration be given to linking up the Gort Road at the Business Park with the Lahinch Road, which was initially proposed some years ago by Clare County Council as part of the Ennis North Inner Relief Road project,” added Deputy McNamara.

In response to Deputy McNamara’s representation on the proposed Ennis North Inner Relief Road, Clare County Council stated that it has NTA funding approval for a Mobility Plan for Ennis which “would identify the need and justification for the provision of transportation infrastructure projects within Ennis. As such, the need and timeframe for a project like the Ennis North Inner Relief Road will be assessed through this process.”

“The methodology proposed for the development of a Mobility Plan for Ennis is an Area Based Transport Assessment (ABTA). It is anticipated that the ABTA for Ennis will commence in 2022 and it is expected that this process will take approximately 18mts to complete,” the local authority added.