Despite serious setbacks in the planning process, there are still hopes of developing cycle lanes along one of the country’s most scenic tourist routes.
There was disappointment recently when An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for cycle lanes as part of a proposed €65m upgrading of the N86 Tralee to Dingle road.
It was feared initially that the money allocated for long-sought improvements to the 28km road would be lost, following the refusal, but the National Roads Authority (NRA) has told Kerry County Council it is still available.
However, the proposals are currently in limbo, as the next steps — including a possible judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision — are being considered.
The council has submitted a Freedom of Information request in a bid to understand how the appeals board came to its decision.
Essentially, the refusal was on the grounds that roadside cycle lanes would mean an “excessive interference” with the landscape of west Kerry and would have an unacceptable impact on the amenities of the area.
Kerry mayor Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald disagreed.
“The Tralee to Dingle road is dangerous and really needs upgrading, which we’ve been seeking for more than 20 years. This is our best chance to get that necessary work done.”
He said the chances of success in a judicial review were ‘’not very promising’’, while an alternative was to submit a new planning application for one roadside cycle way, instead of two.
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