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N17 - Knock to Collooney [design & planning underway]



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Again though Marno, with respect, that's the same thing: someone in an opposing political position saying that the minister is after unilaterally acting. And obviously the longer it goes on with no denial, then the closer it looks like the truth, to me. Certainly I'd be expecting it after someone raises it in the Dáil.

    If it looks like a duck, and quacks....

    But just to re-state that the person on the call there is blaming Eamon Ryan for the Galway Ring Road stalling, and for something unspecified in Cork (N20 or N25 maybe?) so I'm taking it with a little pinch of salt.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,814 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    "If Eamon had no intention of ever moving to construction on this road then why spend hundreds of thousands of our money on the prep work? "

    Ryan's intentions for construction are irrelevant. Even if he becomes MfT for the full term of the next government after the current one (and likely the government after that too), Ryan wouldn't be the Minister approving construction. Even if it was full steam ahead, there are years of design and planning to go through for this. No construction will happen before 2030 with this design process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 407 ✭✭Mullinabreena

    But if Ryan has pulled the financial plug it will never get past the planning/design phase.

    It has to happen at some stage, you can't stop progress forever.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭il gatto

    The original source is the Sligo County Chairman’s letter to his counterpart in Mayo in which he said that Ryan said ‘there would be no funding available for the scheme for many years’.

    So unless Ryan has been misrepresented, it’s not merely someone attacking him because of his party. And Ring’s party is in government with Ryan’s so it seems even more unlikely that this is just baseless criticism.

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  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,301 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatInABox

    Eamon Ryan is many things, and inept at communications is definitely one of them. While I'd usually agree that there's no smoke without fire, when it comes to comms from this guy, I'd well believe that he's just screwed this up, and is taking his time responding because he's inept.

    Also, Ring is a member of a governing party, but is not a minister, and does seem to be on the outside these days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭il gatto

    But as I said, the source isn’t Ring. It’s a letter from the County Chairman of Sligo to the County Chairman of Mayo. The quote in the letter was quite explicit that Ryan said there would be no funding for “many years”. If that quote is accurate, and at this point there’s been no attempt to say it isn’t, Michael Ring is quite within his rights to criticise the decision. He’s a TD representing Mayo and the N17 is one of the main routes through it. And is widely regarded by anyone familiar with it as probably the worst National Primary Route in the country. I certainly haven’t had the misfortune to travel on one worse than it.

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,301 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatInABox

    And again, we circle back around to that quote from Ryan being from the meeting in which no direct question on this was asked. This comes back to my point, Eamon Ryan is totally inept at comms. Whether it's the n17 or window boxes, the guy never misses an opportunity to mangle his meaning.

    I'm not defending him here, I'm really not, I think that cancelling design work on this would be stupid, but until the department of transport come out and officially saw yes or no on this, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭il gatto

    Except people are travelling this road every day (my own parents had to travel it in both directions yesterday) and it’s a remnant of the 1970s with 2020s traffic on it. It’s not a question of when it will be done. It’s a question of why wasn’t it done decades ago. And this is, at best, not hurrying it up and, at worst, signalling it won’t be done at all.

    This is not some ministerial vanity project or a government white elephant. This is remedial work that should’ve been done years ago to bring a truly awful piece of infrastructure into the correct century.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,814 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    If Ryan pulled the financial plug for this project, the N17 can be upgraded in a series of separate projects with could allow for work on some sections before what would be possible with the current (possibly defunded project).

    There is more than one way to skin a cat and the recent approach of turning everything into a mega project has been a failure. It requires navigating a more arduous planning system and brings more scrutiny and attracts objectors from far and wide. It also requires huge funding every year and without the required level of funding, there can be no progress along the entire 50km of the scheme.

    That isn't progress. Progress would be looking to get some sections on site in the current decade.

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  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,301 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatInABox

    Ah, this project has been designed in such a way as to enable the work to progress in sections, so while in planning it's a large project, in construction it should be a series of much smaller projects. Going back to design smaller projects would add years onto the schedule, a schedule which is pretty long already.

    As far as I can see, there is no good reason not to continue to fund the design and planning work. The only thing that comes to mind is that our legal and planning apparatuses are completely saturated with work, and likely will be for some time. I don't know who's running the design work on this, but right now, ABP is inundated with major infrastructure proposals. Bus Connects Dublin, Galway and Cork are coming in. Metrolink is in there for six months already, zero sign of the oral hearings. The various Dart+ projects are all in already, or going in. The Finglas Luas extension is a victim of this, scheduled for years away, albeit this isn't on the NDP plan.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    In the 90s, we built little bits of road here and there which is a very inefficient method of building an interurban network. Bypasses were built ad hoc here and there also. A lot of this was because of financial constraints but it became clear to the NRA in the 00s that if you want to upgrade an interurban of 100+km it makes sense to do it in packages of bigger than 5km, especially when offline sections are required. Then that whole policy position was thrown out the window because a bike salesman from Ranelagh knows better.

    This project has been in planning for 5 years now. Before that, it was in early planning as a 14km N17 Tobercurry-Collooney scheme. A considerable amount of money has been spent on the project to date. Get this project route selected, and then advance the 11km Tobercurry bypass and 8km Charlestown/Curry bypass seeing as bypasses are in vogue at the Department at the minute. At least get the traffic out of those two towns

    This leaves the 18km between Tobercurry and Collooney, which although it's clearly a death trap, will not be a priority for a Minister who has taken the decision to cancel several projects which his own roads agency have been clear have a serious and blatant record for head on collisions. [1] We can revisit those projects at a later stage when someone capable of understanding all elements of their brief is in charge at the Department.

    [1] When the NDP in 2018 was being planned, TII were asked for a list of projects that should be included under several headings. They then commissioned a study into which routes had the greatest incidence of serious head on collisions. The stretches of road identified were the N2 between Ardee and Monaghan, the N4 between Mullingar and Rooskey, the N20 between Blarney and Patrickswell and the N22 between Ovens and Farranfore. Six schemes for improvement were then defined (N2 Ardee-Castleblayney, N2 Clontibret-Border, N4 Mullingar-Rooskey, M20 Cork-Limerick, N22 Macroom-Ovens, N22 Farranfore-Killarney in addition to the N22 Macroom-Ballyvourney which had planning permission). Five of these projects were included in the NDP. Two of these projects were unfunded in 2022, one has been unfunded this year and the remaining two are the M20 and Farranfore-Killarney, the latter of which is currently held up in Departmental red tape.

  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭Westernview

    Whether Eamon Ryan meant what he said or was just unclear it seems to have ruffled plenty of feathers. The front page of today's Connacht Telegraph has Lisa Chambers weighing in. She's very critical of what ER announced and she says that no single minister has the power to override the NDP, that it's a government decision.

    If its all just a misunderstanding then surely it's time he clarified what he actually meant.

    Post edited by Westernview on

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,301 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatInABox

    Yeah, I was defending him, saying that it's probably a misunderstanding, but I can't defend not clarifying what is a confusing situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭Westernview

    It's fair enough to give him a chance in the absence of clear messaging. He was on Matt Cooper this evening as well when a texter tackled him on the N17 and he said the focus has moved to reducing bottlenecks around towns and focusing on the 2:1 ratio of public transport to roads. So it seems that he wants to shelve it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,814 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    If the focus for the N17 is on reducing bottlenecks and bypassing towns in a targeted way, that would be a huge positive and might actually result in some actual construction start this decade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭Westernview

    He listed a few bottleneck towns like Carrick on Shannon off the top of his head. Dont think he mentioned any along the N17 but yeah it would be construction activity anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,021 ✭✭✭il gatto

    The entire road between Ballinacarrow and Curry is a bottleneck. Tubbercurry is the only town between them and a bypass of it wouldn’t make that much difference.

    This road is not like the N4 or other National Primary Route roads with single lanes. It’s a Regional road, at best, with far too much traffic on it. A bypass of Tubbercurry is not what is needed. The town has a previously built bypass of a sort and a strategically placed roundabout would alleviate any holdup at that point. It’s completely unacceptable as it’s no more than a sop to the local yokels.

    So it would not be “a huge positive”. It would be an insult if anything.

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,301 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatInABox

    Yeah, the towns along the route are obviously a problem, but the in-between sections are incredibly poor quality.

    Twisty, windy roads, with next to zero sightline. There's even bridges that actually narrow the road, but everyone's speed stays the same. It's a dangerous stretch of road no matter how you cut it, and bypasses won't solve that problem.

    You could argue that all that's needed is bypasses and some strategic works to remove dangerous spots, but as some of those spots would require work on bridges, I don't think that the savings would be amazing.

    EDIT: Just corrected a word.

    Post edited by CatInABox on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭Westernview

    I agree. In general terms focusing on bottlenecks seems sensible but that's based on the bypass merging into decent roads at either end. In the case of the N17 that whole stretch of road needs upgrading. Safety must be number 1 even over green agendas.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    There remains large stretches of road around Ireland which TII call "unengineered" or "legacy" stretches of road. The vast majority of the national secondary network falls into this category, and an unacceptable amount of the national primary network fits into this category too. Whilst bypassing bottlenecks is obviously a priority, replacing these stretches of road, which were routed across the countryside before cars were invented, must also be a priority. In a few weeks time, several km of this type of road will be bypassed in Co. Mayo, and soon after several km in Co. Cork will be replaced later in the year.

    This section, through Co. Sligo, has to rank up there for some of the worst stretches on the national primary network. The only reason more people aren't killed on it is because it's simply so bad you can't travel very fast on it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Yeah it's pretty bad quality and I wouldn't be inclined to say bypasses of the towns will suffice, personally. And as I say, the longer this goes on the more it looks like Ryan IS doing a solo run.

    Can't argue with Chambers there. Even if I agreed with Ryan, it's not right that a minister has that much sway over individual projects. Broad concepts and strategy yes, individual projects no.

  • Registered Users Posts: 53 ✭✭cartoncowboy

    I listened to his wandering rant on Today FM yesterday. Its clear by listening to him that he has never driven the route himself, otherwise he would see what a mess it is and understand the deplatitated state of it. Talking about bypasses, all well and good but he doesn't even realise that Tubbercurry is already bypassed and the road in-between is the issue. So in other words, all of it needs addressing.

    He rants on about the western rail corridor as an alternative but never mentions extending that line up to Sligo where the population is ,that would make good use of it. Rather bring a freight line from Ballina down to Cork, Limerick and Galway. All pie in the sky stuff really.

    As some have said, this seems like a solo run by a minister who has not educated himself of the need for this road or listened to TII.

    So from what i can tell he is telling people from the northwest.

    1. We'll give you a few bypasses but you could have a serious accident getting to those bypasses, even with 80Kph speed limit applied
    2. You can drive to Ballina from Sligo an a similarly sub standard road to catch an in frequent train and enjoy the 3hr ride to Galway.

    So I'm still waiting to hear from him, a sound legitimate reason why this project is put on the very long finger for the second time.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    He reminds me of the absolute simpletons of eco warriors on social media trotting out the "just one more lane" and videos of Interstate 405 in the western suburbs of Los Angeles whenever building a new road anywhere in Ireland is mentioned. There are several justifications for building this route, capacity enhancement aside.

    Remind me again what buses and the containers of imported vegan food travel on again?

  • Registered Users Posts: 744 ✭✭✭Westernview

    It really does seem like he isn't familiar with that stretch of road, which would make it all the more bizarre that he would make a call to pull funding for improving it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,006 ✭✭✭timmyntc

    What gain would there be from bypasses?

    Do any of the towns on the route suffer from serious traffic congestion?

    It takes 1 minute to pass through ballinacarrow, 1 minute through curry, 2 minutes through tubbercurry via the relief road they already have..

    Charlestown maybe but even then is there the traffic volumes at any one time of day to necessitate a dedicated bypass? (As opposed to an entirely new alignment)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,015 ✭✭✭Jonnyc135

    I suspect they are holding back a lot of money as they know we are headed for an incoming recession in the short term with extreme risks for interest rate rises on the shadow banking sector in Ireland. Why it is shelled for "many years" is beyond me. Really it just amplifies the ignorance from the greens towards rural Ireland

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Is it possible that the issue here is the Roads:Sustainable investment spending ratios?

    There's no major sustainable projects moving forward...

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  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    The heavily reduced funding envelope came into effect between January 2020 and January 2021. That meant only E1bn could be spent on new roads between 2021 and 2025 (for reference, new roads spending is 235m in 2023 and the estimate for 2024 is 145m).