Green light for central access scheme and new bridge crossing

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Computer generated image of the proposed road & bridge

Kilkenny Advertiser, December 16, 2011.

by Naoise Coogan

Kilkenny has been offered a resolution to some of the traffic problems that have been plaguing the city over recent years, following a decision by An Bord Pleanala this week to grant approval for a central access scheme and new bridge crossing.

The decision has been welcomed with open arms by all but one member of the local authorities and the executive.

A new, low-impact, bridge design was developed by the local authorities for the scheme, which involves a new access road through the current Diageo brewery site, traversing the Nore and linking with the Mart site and the Castlecomer Road. The new scheme will consist of an urban street approximately 700 metres in length which will link St Canice’s Place to the Castlecomer Road. The altered scheme was required to take into consideration the redevelopment of the mart site which ran into problems due to lack of access and other traffic management difficulties, which are each addressed in the altered scheme.

County manager Joe Crockett said it was a good decision for Kilkenny city as the new scheme would ‘consolidate the city centre’.

“This will be good news for High Street, John Street, and also the mart site,” said Mr Crockett.

“The bridges we have are inadequate and we believe that the CAS will improve interconnectivity, road safety, and will not adversely affect the integrity of the city. The new bridge will be designed to enhance the core of the city centre and of course will also improve access to the mart site and surrounding areas.

“There is currently heavy congestion on Green’s Bridge and John’s Bridge on a daily basis. And Green’s Bridge will simply be unable to cope with the heavy goods vehicles into the future. There will be a cost benefit to the people of Kilkenny if the new road and bridge go ahead in terms of road safety, Co2 levels, and financial return too,” explained Mr Crockett.

However not everyone feels so positive about the prospect of the new route.

Green Party environment spokesperson, Malcolm Noonan, in a statement to the Kilkenny Advertiser said that the central access scheme in Kilkenny will destroy the city’s medieval core.

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