Thursday 10 March 2011

Slane bypass balloon test details revealed

DETAILS OF the balloon tests to be carried out as part of the public hearing into the proposed new Slane bypass and bridge were given yesterday before the proceedings were adjourned.

The oral hearing has adjourned until March 29th to allow Meath County Council to carry out a balloon test at the site of the proposed new bridge to evaluate the visual impact of the structure on the surrounding area, including Brú na Bóinne.

The council hopes to conduct the test next Friday and Saturday, weather permitting.

Two blimp-type balloons will be positioned on each bank of the Boyne at Fennor, the site of the proposed bridge, about one mile east of the existing Slane bridge.

The balloons will be set at two possible bridge heights – the preferred 18m above ground level and a lower 12m option.

The test for the preferred 18m option will take place between 10am and 1.30pm each day when the balloons will have red banners attached, while the test for the 12m option will take place between 2pm and 5pm each day when the balloons will support blue banners. Each balloon is approximately 6.1m long and 3.7m high while the banners are 3.7m long and 1.2m high.

When the oral hearing resumes at the end of the month supporters and critics of the proposed bridge will have an opportunity to give their reaction to the tests.

The proposed N2 Slane bypass and bridge will see traffic divert from the existing bridge and road because the new dual carriageway will allow vehicles travel faster and safer, design engineer Séamus MacGearailt told An Bord Pleanála’s oral hearing yesterday.

Mr MacGearailt was responding to questions from barrister Colm MacEochaidh, senior counsel for former attorney general John Rogers who is opposed to the new dual carriageway, which includes provision for a new Boyne bridge.

Irish Times

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