THE ORAL hearing into the Slane bypass will be “even-handed” when considering whether an eastern or western route around the village is preferable, according to An Bord Pleanála.
Confirming that the hearing into the proposed road will take place, probably next February, a spokesman said: “It will be an open and even-handed assessment on both proposed options.”
There are more than 100 objectors to the bypass. The hearing is expected to hear strong arguments from opponents to the eastern route which runs close to the buffer zone of the Brú na Bóinne Unseco world heritage site that includes Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
The western route, which would dissect the Slane Castle estate and affect its famous concert arena, was rejected by the council in its environmental impact statement.
However, in reply in the planning board, the council supplied additional information on this option.
Slane is on the N2 and on a crossroads on the banks of the Boyne river and is approached by steep hills. The bypass would remove some of the 7,000 vehicles a day that pass through the village.
Meanwhile, members of the Bypass Slane group say they are “very disappointed” the village was not included as one of the locations being targeted in the new crackdown on speeding using mobile speed cameras.
The last fatality was in 2001. It is almost two years since there was a multi-vehicle pile-up there involving a number of local women who were dropping their children to school. The women helped to establish the Bypass Slane campaign.
Spokeswoman Michele Power said: “The only thing we have to protect us from another accident is the 30km/h speed limit introduced after the pile up.”
The group said the limit was only complied with by local residents and that last Friday morning, it seemed that practically every vehicle entering the village was breaking it; speeds of up to 60km/h were being recorded on a flashing speed signpost outside the primary school.
“Why do we have to go and fight again for something we should already have?” Ms Power asked.
The Garda Press Office said the locations identified for speed cameras were chosen according to a number of criteria, including the number of injuries and fatalities on the road in question and whether people were keeping to the limits.