THE ECONOMIC arguments for building Dublin’s eastern bypass and the proposed Leinster outer orbital motorway were “immense”, the chief executive of the National Roads Authority (NRA), Fred Barry, told a transport planning conference yesterday.
The all-island conference, entitled Transport Ireland: Towards a Modern and Sustainable Transport Future, also heard that CIÉ and Northern Irish Railways had in recent weeks briefed transport ministers North and South on plans for a €500 million high-speed Dublin-Belfast rail link.
Addressing the issue of the National Roads Authority’s priorities beyond the inter-urban motorway programme that ends in 2010, Mr Barry said forecasts for the Republic had predicted populations of between 4.8 million and 6.4 million in 25 years. This represented an increase of a minimum of five times the current population of Cork city or a maximum of five times the current population of Dublin city.
Coupled with the development of Dublin Port, the Docklands area and the Poolbeg peninsula, “the economic arguments in favour of the eastern bypass are immense,” he said.
Mr Barry added he had come to this conclusion even though he had initially been “jaundiced” about the proposal.
Outlining other priorities, Mr Barry instanced work on the motorway from Cork through Limerick to north of Tuam, Co Galway. Some stretches of the route such as the Ennis bypass were already open or under way.