PLANS FOR a €41 million bridge and bypass of Killaloe have received a major boost.
This follows Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar giving the go-ahead to Clare County Council to publish statutory orders seeking approval from An Bord Pleanála for the two projects – the Shannon bridge crossing and Killaloe bypass.
For many years, there have been traffic snarl ups on the 18th-century bridge that connects Killaloe and Ballina on the Shannon.
Only 4.8 metres in width in places (Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge is 3.8 metres wide), the 13-arch bridge is the main crossing point on the Shannon between the Co Galway town of Portumna and Limerick city.
Built to accommodate the horse and cart, the bridge is now being used by commercial traffic as a way of accessing Dublin or the west coast without having to go through Limerick.
The Clare and north Tipperary councils have installed traffic lights to regulate traffic on the bridge. The new bridge is planned for one kilometre downstream of Killaloe.
The estimated cost of the project is €41 million and can be split into three phases. They are the Killaloe bypass (€11.93 million), the Shannon bridge crossing (€12 million) and the works on the regional R494 road (€16.6 million). The protected status of the Killaloe bridge has ruled out any upgrading works as they would be contrary to the development plans for Clare and North Tipperary.