‘Why should Letterkenny have to put up with this?’

BUSINESSES in Letterkenny say that traffic snarls in the town are stifling trade and will threaten jobs in the new year.
Local businessman and Councillor, Ciaran Brogan, said people were reporting ‘onerous’ delays getting to and from work every day, while some businesses have put further investment plans on hold because of traffic concerns.
“I’ve been contacted by a number of local businesses who are quite concerned by the congestion. It is damaging the image of Letterkenny – Donegal’s largest town – and it’s making it very difficult for companies to attract and win new business,” Cllr Brogan warned.
Two weeks ago, data published by the Donegal News showed the full extent of roadworks facing Letterkenny over the next three years.
In that time, Irish Water is set to invest €44 million in Letterkenny through a major programme of works on the town’s water supply and addressing deficiencies in the sewer network.
“There are genuine and serious concerns among the business community,” Cllr Brogan warned.
He was speaking ahead of work which is due to start along the Circular Road early in the new year (January 14) that will run until July 2019.
“There’s two shopping complexes in that area who employ a lot of people. Irish Water and Donegal County Council have an obligation to sit down with these business people and make a genuine effort to allay their concerns and fears.
“Letterkenny is the largest town in Donegal. There’s huge volumes of traffic and normal traffic management plans won’t work on the Circular Road. It’s no longer acceptable to simply send out letters to businesses and residents informing them of road closures. They have to make an extra effort to accommodate them because, at the moment, the business community is very concerned about Brexit and Sterling and they can’t afford any slippage in their takings. There are jobs involved here,” Cllr Brogan warned.
“A lot of people only came to realise the seriousness of the traffic disruptions with the report in the Donegal News two weeks ago and its implications for them. It’s now about trying to address their concerns early rather than wait until the works are underway,” he added.
Night works will be in place for the section of road directly adjacent to the entrance to Letterkenny University Hospital. Traffic management for the remainder of Circular Road involves single lane traffic flow managed with traffic lights. Alternative routes are advised.
“I welcome the works. It’s infrastructure that we all need and something that we’ve been fighting for a long, long time but we have to be very careful how we manage it. Letterkenny is the economic driver in Donegal and the town needs to be operating at full capacity.
“There’s a general rule of thumb in Derry and Belfast that there are no roadworks in the month of December. The same should be in place for Letterkenny. I’m disappointed that they decided to proceed with the Gortlee and Beechwood Road projects which have had massive traffic implications. Ideally, all of these works in and around the town should be done at night,” Cllr Brogan said.
Irish Water will also take water from the Eddie Fullerton Dam near Buncrana to supplement the town’s existing resources over the next three years. This will require an extension of the trunk network to enable treated water to be delivered to the Carnamuggagh Reservoir.
There will be 5km of pipeline to be laid alongside the N13 single carriageway where the pipeline will be routed mainly in the Letterkenny-bound hard shoulder. Traffic controls will be used where two way traffic cannot be maintained. An additional 4.2km of pipeline along the N13 dual carriageway will be routed in the Letterkenny-bound hard shoulder. Letterkenny bound traffic will be restricted to a single lane outside times of peak morning traffic. Completion is expected in the summer of 2020.
“Again, why don’t they take this pipe across the Swilly. It would make more sense keeping it away from the main road. You don’t see this in large urban centres like Derry, Belfast or Galway so why should we have to put up with it in Letterkenny,” Cllr Brogan asked.

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