Upwards of 20,000 vehicles travel the busiest road in Kerry daily and any further entrances and exits would only add to traffic hazards, according to county manager Tom Curran.
The National Roads Authority is opposed to the building of houses along national primary roads but councillors have, in the past, moved Section 140 motions — forcing the manager to grant planning for houses along the N22.
Mr Curran warned: “I would caution about difficulties in getting funds for road works if the council disobeys NRA guidelines.” However, Independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae called on the council to allow family members wishing to build houses to use existing exits and entrances along the 18-mile stretch of the N22.
“I feel very strongly about this matter,” he said. “I know many young people who have been experiencing difficulties. The basic reason for refusing them planning is more entrances and exits would create traffic hazards.” He felt conditions should be inserted in a new county development plan to eliminate the problem.
All planning applications involving the creation of an access point, or the generation of additional turning movements, on such roads must be referred to the NRA.
A council is then obliged to take the NRA’s observations regarding safety issues into account before making a decision.
Road accident statistics show more than 50% of all injury accidents between 1996 and 2004 occurred as a result of turning movements onto and off roads.
An Taisce president Eanna Ní Leamhna claimed, recently, the NRA had no choice but to build a stretch of the N22 because too many houses had been allowed on the existing stretch between Killarney and Farranfore.
But, work on the long-awaited €150 million stretch, which will bypass Killarney and run across farming countryside to Farranfore, has been delayed for several years as funds have been transferred to road works in the east coast.
Mr Curran, meanwhile, said the N22 was hugely important to the Tralee/Killarney hub under the National Spatial Strategy.
It was also the Cork gateway, he pointed out.
“In our most recent submission to the Department of Transport’s Statement of Strategy 2008 — 2010, this council has strongly reiterated the need to complete the Ballyvourney to Ballincollig section of the N22 as well as the Farranfore/Killarney bypass,” he stated.