Pictured at the contract signing are, back row: Douglas Weir, (Malone O'Regan Consulting Engineers), Michael Murphy, Project Manager Kilkenny Western Environs, Seamus Kavanagh, Senior Engineer Roads, Tim Butler, Director of Services, Kieran Kelly, Resident Engineer, and Enda Gannon (SIAC), front row: Colette Byrne, Chief Executive, Eamon Aylward, Cathaoirleach, and Martin Maher (SIAC)
This Scheme has been an objective of Kilkenny County Council for many years with Planning for this scheme, under Part 8, obtained in 2005. The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the lands required to deliver the scheme was advertised and submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2006 and the CPO was subsequently confirmed in June 2007.
Progress on construction was deferred at this time due to the economic downturn.In October 2016, Kilkenny County Council submitted an application to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, for funding to deliver the scheme under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).
This application was successful with grant funding of €6.5million confirmed in December 2018. The scheme includes for a new distributor road from the N76 Callan Road to the Circular Road at Robertshill, widening of the existing Circular Road from Robertshill to its junction with the Kilmanagh Road, and widening of the R695 Kilmanagh Road as far as the pump adjacent to Drakelands Nursing home.
The proposed road is single carriageway with lighting, footpaths, and cycleways on both sides. Included in the road construction will be all the necessary services required for the future development of the area. The construction of this road infrastructure will enable an orderly and planned sequence of developments in accordance with the Western Environs Local Area Plan published in May 2004 and subsequently incorporated into the County Development Plans of 2008 and 2014. Proposals for the area include the provision of over 3000 new houses and two new secondary schools. Works are due to commence in March 2019 with expected contract duration of 18 months.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Eamon Aylward expressed his delight at the commencement of this scheme and noted that the provision of this infrastructure will enable significant housing construction in the area, leading in turn to the easing of the current housing supply shortage in Kilkenny City, and also the delivery of much needed new schools for the City.