Battle lines have been drawn in Limerick over a decision by the City and County Council to give the go-ahead for a roadway linking Annacotty in the eastern suburbs to Parteen on the western side of the city, writes Jimmy Woulfe.
Business and industry leaders say the road is essential to make the National Technological Park more accessible. The park, adjacent to the University of Limerick campus, is one of the most important industry hubs in the country and park management say a new access road is critically important to sustain growth.
However, residents’ groups say the road is being built across a major flood plain and displaced water will pose a serious threat to housing over a wide area.
Councillors voted 33 to three in favour of the €150m road at a meeting on Monday. The CEO of Limerick Chamber, James Ring, said the decision to include the Northern Distributor Road (NDR) in the county development plan was a vote for the city, county, and region.
“You saw councillors putting on the Limerick jersey and voting for progress,” he said.
“The result is that we have moved a vital step closer towards delivering a key piece of infrastructure that will drive economic development on the northside of the city.
“We talk a lot about balanced regional development from a national perspective but this is balanced development at its best on a local perspective.
“The NDR will be a stimulant for further growth in Limerick and the region and ensure we can keep up the very impressive momentum already gathered over recent years.”
However, the East Limerick Action Group (ELAG) said 200,000 tonnes of concrete will be lodged on already sodden land during construction, worsening existing flooding issues.
Noel O’Connor for ELAG said: “There are serious and verifiable risks of serious flooding to a wide area of the suburbs stretching from Castleconnell. Where will all the water displaced by this development go.”
ELAG said the construction of bridges over the Mulkear and Shannon will see a new road cut through one of the most flood-prone areas adjacent to the Shannon.
They say this plan will lead to property damage and unaffordable insurance for thousands of homeowners.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.