Residents angry over NRA plans to close slip road

NO sooner have the residents of the Clashmore and Piltown areas of county Waterford emerged victorious from one battle with the National Roads Authority (NRA) when they find themselves angrily embroiled in another.

People power prevailed when the residents persuaded the NRA that a vehicular underpass at Piltown Cross should be an integral part of the multi-million euro realignment of a stretch of the main N25 route.

Initially the underpass was declared a “non-runner’ by the NRA before the persistence of the local community carried the day.

But now local tensions are soaring again, with residents shocked to learn of a belated NRA proposal to close off a slip road close to Piltown Church as part of the realignment programme. That was never envisaged in the original plans and has come like a bolt from the blue to the community.

A flavour of their shock and anger emerged at a public protest meeting in Piltown when there was unanimity in calling on the NRA to abandon its proposal to close off the slip road which serves as an ideal route into their shopping town of Youghal from the Monatrea, Piltown and Ardmore areas.

“If the slip road is closed off it will mean us having to go through the vehicular underpass and crossing the busy N25 to go to Youghal”, one resident said.

While the NRA says that the closure of the slip road is necessary on public safety grounds, local county councillors are throwing their full support behind the residents’ opposition.

“Closing off this vital link between the area with the town of Youghal throws logic out the door”, said FG Councillor Pat Nugent.

FF Councillor Tom Cronin said it is “peculiar to say the very least” that the proposal to close off the link road only came from the NRA after it had relented under the weight of public opinion and pressure on the underpass issue.

However, county engineer John O’Flynn has warned that unless there is agreement on the proposed closure of the road the NRA might well pull the plug on funding for the provision of the underpass.

“My fear is that without the closure of the link road, on safety grounds, the funding for the underpass might be lost,” said Mr O’Flynn

It’s a calculated gamble it would seem that the locals are prepared to take.

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