ROD is pleased to report that the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the N67 / N85 Ennistymon Inner Relief Road (Blake’s Corner) scheme has been confirmed by An Bord Pleanála. The decision marks an important milestone in the journey towards alleviating longstanding traffic issues within Ennistymon and follows Clare County Council’s approval of the Part VIII planning application for the scheme in April 2018.
Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, welcomed the news, saying: “I look forward to [seeing] progress on this important project, which will enhance and open up North Clare to more visitors, and will make the experience of visiting the area more enjoyable.”
Traffic congestion at Ennistymon’s historical Blake’s Corner has been a cause of serious concern for many years. Over 1,100 vehicles an hour traverse the junction during busy periods, and larger vehicles require all other traffic to stop to complete a turning manoeuvre.
The junction causes particular difficulty for coaches bringing tourists to one of Ireland’s favourite visitor attractions, the Cliffs of Moher, as it is on the principal access route to Lahinch and North and West Clare. At present, there are no continuous safe pedestrian footpaths provided through the junction and onto the bridge, which itself only has a narrow footpath on one side.
The proposed scheme involves the construction of a new bridge approximately 80m upstream of the existing seven-arch masonry Michael Conway Bridge. This will divert the N67 National Secondary Route away from the bottom of the Main Street and facilitate the pedestrianisation of the existing bridge. New plazas will be created on each side of the existing bridge, extending the town centre across to the west side of the river.
The scheme features enhanced crossing arrangements for pedestrians on all approaches, complementary landscaping, lighting and services enhancements and other ancillary elements.
As well as benefitting traffic, the works will greatly benefit schoolchildren moving between residential areas on the east side of the river and schools on the west side as, at present, the children must negotiate their way between stopped or slow vehicles at the junction.
ROD is delighted the project is moving forward to the detailed design stage and tender process, with Project Director, Eoin Ó Catháin, saying: “It’s brilliant news to finally have the CPO confirmed, thereby completing the planning phase of the project. An extensive amount of optioneering, modelling, design and assessment was undertaken to get to where we are now, and we look forward to delivering a safer and more inclusive environment for the people of Ennistymon.”