Tipperary County Council has recently announced that it proposes to carry out a €4-5m upgrade to the public realm through the centre of Tipperary Town between Church Street and Cashel Road.
The scheme is 1.6km in length and encompasses two national routes through the town, the N24 and N74.
Not having engineering qualifications I had to dig into the detail of the plans (at the Tipperary Municipal District Office) to get a clear idea of what the end product would look like.
Without doubt these are very impressive plans and will be an impressive feature for people entering the town from the Cashel direction but the niggling question is whether the town can cope with this major upheaval so soon after the last roadworks and while the town is still coping with Covid-19.
March4Tipp have been early out of the blocks to state their opposition to the development at this time and their spokespersons have promised some form of protest action in opposition.
There is too much detail in the plans to go into the specifics but the main aspects are:
•1.6km of new road pavement and upgrade of the road layout on the N24 Main Street and N74 Fr Mathew Street
•Widening of footways with new paving along N24 Main Street/Bank Place and along N74 Fr Mathew Street/Cashel Road
•Upgrade of public lighting along N74 Fr Mathew Street/Cashel Road
The scheme aligns with the aims and objectives of the recently published Tipperary Town Heritage Action Plan 2020-2022, which aims to enhance the historic Main Street in the town centre and will improve pedestrian safety providing increased space and improved access for all pedestrians including vulnerable road users and for wheelchairs, buggies etc.
This will in turn lead to increased footfall, commercial benefits and a better overall pedestrian experience.
The Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath says that the council has been working closely with Transport Infrastructure Ireland to advance this project.
On the question of where this leaves plans for the bypass of Tipperary Town, Marcus O’Connor, Director of Services for Tipperary County Council had this to say: “While this scheme will focus on improving the existing N24-N74, it is important to recognise that consultants have been appointed to design a new N24 between Cahir and Limerick Junction, which will bypass Tipperary Town and funding is in place to bring this project through to planning stage.
“While this will take some time I can confirm that the consultants will look at options to alleviate traffic in and around the town in the short to medium term.”
A joint press release was issued this week by March4Tipp, Jobs4Tipp and the Tipperary Town Chamber in response to the works.
Joe Hayes, recently appointed Chairperson of Tipperary Town Chamber has deep concerns with regards to the potential roadworks.
He said: “At the last number of Chamber meetings, members expressed overwhelming opposition to major roadworks happening in 2021. Many businesses are already struggling to stay afloat. At a time of great uncertainty and severe challenges to businesses, the idea of facing into two years of major disruption is unthinkable.”
A March4Tipp post says: “We are sick to our stomachs at the thoughts of two more years of roadworks in Tipperary Town. This is the reality of what is facing the town again in a few months, unless we make our voices heard.
“Say NO to the N24. We have waited long enough for a ring road and we will not allow these roadworks to go ahead until the N24 traffic is diverted around our town.”
Jobs4Tipp Chairperson Seamus Clarke argues that no roadworks should take place until a solution to the traffic has been found first.
Whatever you view it is important that you inform yourself of the plans and members of the public can do this until Thursday, November 12 2020, at the offices of Tipperary-Cahir-Cashel Municipal District, Rosanna Road.
Plans can also be viewed at the offices of Tipperary County Council, Civic Offices, Emmet Street, Clonmel, Tipperary 9.30am - 4.30 pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
Submissions or observations may be made in writing to Marcus O’Connor, Director of Services, Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure, Tipperary County Council, Civic Offices, Nenagh, Tipperary, no later than 4.30pm on Thursday, November 26 2020.