Longford Leader letters to the editor: Return of bad times may scupper extension

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N4 motorway extension

A return of bad times may scupper the proposed extension of the N4 from Mullingar to Longford, a reader has claimed

Around 2001 at a County Longford Enterprise Board meeting a person from the IDA told the meeting that one of the reasons why Longford didn't have many visits from big companies wishing to invest in this area was that we didn't have quick and safe access to ports and airports.

As a person who drove for a living I saw the sense in this straight away.

Moves were made to get an extension of the N4 dual carriageway from Mullingar to Longford incorporating a bypass of Edgeworthstown and this was also adopted as part of the Midland Regional Development Plan in 2004.

Stemming from these efforts and many public meetings it was decided to proceed with drawing up plans for a new road (dual carriageway).

A firm of architects / engineers selected one route out of six to seven options and this became the preferred route option and it was to link with the N5 close to the Abbott interchange on the Longford bypass.

About ten years ago we were hit with the infamous downturn and all this was shelved until recently when our County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon started to mention it.

Some of our elected representatives have mentioned it but they seem not to understand the importance of it to Longford.

There was a little burst for a while by the Longford Chamber of Commerce and other Chamber members from the west and northwest who have gone silent lately. Could it be that they are happy to have got funding committed for their projects ie Castlebar / Westport, Castlebaldwin Sligo?

Even those in broadcast media don't seem to see this as a priority even though Government spokespeople have said it'll be ten years before this project is done and this was supported by Fianna Fáil.

I fear a return of bad times may scupper this extension again and I may die without ever getting a chance to drive on a new Longford road which I was the first to agitate for in 2001.

Yours sincerely,
John Nolan