The Minister for Tourism & Sport, Deputy Michael Ring TD, a Mayo native who undoubtedly got stuck in Longford town traffic to the west many times over the years, officially opened the new bypass in Longford town last Thursday.
The N5 bypass was completed last year and, just last week, over p5m in funding was provided by the National Roads Authority (NRA) to Longford Co Council for the project.
The official opening of the road went ahead on the west side of the bypass in inclement weather last Thursday where the ribbon was officially cut and a plaque unveiled to mark its opening.
Minister Ring said that his “Mayo roots” meant he was particularly delighted at the completion of the project and he also paid tribute to Longford County Manager Tim Caffrey who oversaw the p26m development.
“As a Mayo man, I am delighted to see the project completed,” the Minister added. “Other ventures will also improve travel times to the West, including the work underway on the Downes at Mullingar which is proceeding on schedule to finish later this year. This is a great achievement for everyone concerned and will prove a major benefit to the town of Longford.”
Meanwhile, local Fine Gael TD, James Bannon, who was also in attendance at the offical opening of the bypass said that the new route had alleviated traffic in Longford town and provided motorists travelling west through Longford, with better conditions.
“One of my main priorities as a public representative for Longford/Westmeath has always been the improvement of infrastructure, both for the local communities and to increase investment,” Deputy Bannon said, adding that “dramatic road improvements” like the N5 bypass decreased travel times for road users and improved the overall “interconnectivity” to the west.
“While the removal of vital services in rural areas is a bone of contention for rural cohesion, the elimination of heavy goods vehicles, and through traffic, will intensify the sense of community in Longford town.”
Deputy Bannon went on to say that there was also “increased safety” on the rotue that linked east with west, and he added that local traders had not suffered finanically as a result of the N5’s construction.
County Mayor, Cllr Sean Farrell then welcomed the opening of the new route and said it was “an Infrastructural project of which the county can be proud and will greatly add to the quality of life for all, especially those who have been delayed on their passage through the town in recent years”.