Carrying out a redesign of the junction at St. Mel’s Cathedral is among the priorities for Longford County Council this year. Officials from the local authority, along with some council members, will meet with the National Roads Authority at the end of this month to outline their plans for the coming year.
Prior to that, a number of councillors have voiced their own proposals, including Cllr Paul Connell who raised the issue of the cathedral junction, describing the area as “a mess”.
“There was money set aside but it wasn’t done,” said Cllr Connell.
In response, Director of Services for Roads, Jack Kilgallen, said the council had a very specific rota of projects that would be completed before the cathedral junction, ordered by priority of what needed to be done first. He said the opening of the N5 and restoration of the Ballinalee road approach to the cathedral were projects that the council had completed and that it is now time to tackle the cathedral junction issue.
Cllr Connell asked why the cathedral junction was not done in conjunction with the Ballinalee road works, and before Mr Kilgallen could answer Co Mayor Cllr Sean Farrell interjected and asked if there was funding for the cathedral junction works. The meeting was told that the NRA has funding allocated for it.
Cllr Farrell said it would be raised at the upcoming meeting with the NRA.
“It’s the only town in Ireland where you have the main road coming in and you have to give way to traffic on your left,” said Cllr Connell.
Cllr John Duffy said his main priority for the NRA meeting was the N4 from Sligo at Newtownforbes, but noted that the complete list should be compiled at the planned special meeting of the council.
Cllr Peggy Nolan, by way of a clarification, said that Newtownforbes should be given special status when it comes to upgrading footpaths. She said after the closure of St Mel’s Cathedral, added to the fact that it’s on a national primary route, the village should receive priority funding.
Each councillor will be asked by the council to submit their proposals for where the council’s priorities for road improvements to be carried out during 2013. A total of 12 delegates, including council officials, will meet with the NRA at the end of this month.