A new independent masterplan for Co Meath which drops the controversial section of the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara, but includes a world heritage park, was launched last night. The masterplan, which derives its name from Model Archaeological and Sustainable Economic Region (Master) was put forward by environmental engineer Tadhg Crowleyand transport consultant Brian Guckian.
The plan aims to help Meath become a model in sustainable practices in the development of energy, housing, tourism, heritage, transport and business, over a five- to seven-year period. Included in the recommendations are "a compromise transport solution" that preserves the Gabhra Valley through which the M3 motorway is being built. The compromise solution would see current traffic spread across an upgrade of the existing road, as well as the use of more coaches and a reopened Navan rail link. Modifications to the M3 would drop the controversial section close to the Hill of Tara. Instead, the M3 motorway would run to Dunshaughlin, where traffic would route onto an upgraded existing road which comprises a "two plus one" lane road. This three-lane road has an alternating centre lane. The aim is to solve the problem of the proximity of the motorway to the Hill of Tara, while obviating the need to re-route the motorway. The re-opened rail link would be designed to serve key growing towns, including Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells. The plan also envisages the creation of a Unesco world heritage park, showcasing Meath's "unique and world-renowned heritage attractions", while implementing best practices in sustainable tourism. The park would stretch from Dunshaughlin to Navan and from Trim to the Battle of the Boyne site at Oldbridge. Meath County Council said its own development plan, which supports the M3, remains unchanged. The independent plan is available at www.sacredireland org/meathmaster/index.html
© 2007 The Irish Times