Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has welcomed a statement from Transport for Ireland that they anticipate the proposed over-bridge at the Tower Road Junction scheme could be opened in late 2019 or early 2020. The information was revealed at a recent meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Deputy Aylward commented, “I raised the issue of the lethal Tower Rd and Ink Bottle Junction’s on the N24 with the CEO of TII, Mr. Michael Nolan, at a recent meeting of the PAC.

“Mr. Nolan stated that the short term safety improvement works are expected to be completed shortly and that Kilkenny County Council is progressing tender documentation for the consultancy service for the proposed over bridge on the N24 Piltown Bypass at Tower Road. It is anticipated that a consultant will be appointed before the end of 2017.

“I then asked Mr. Nolan to clarify whether he was talking about closing the two junctions, building an overhead bridge and having a means of driving onto the road system, as with motorways. He confirmed that there would be grade separation. It is expected that a standard junction arrangement will be put in place which will also tidy up the conflict with the Ink Bottle junction further down the road, and the junction directly at the village.

“The plans are in train and TII’s solution at all times was to close off both junctions and grade-separate one of them, tying them all in together,” explained Deputy Aylward.

“Mr. Nolan also stated to the PAC that they anticipate the scheme could be opened in late 2019 or early 2020 once they have the funding for it and they get through the planning process without any major issues. The contract period for a scheme of this scale is 12 to 15 months, subject to a positive outcome regarding planning approval, getting land, design and procurement, so realistically one could be looking at two to two and a half years from now.

“I will continue to press the issue with the Kilkenny County Council, TII and Minister Ross to emphasise the need for all stages of the project to be concluded urgently and that adequate funding be provided to the TII by his Department,” concluded Deputy Aylward.