Virginia bypass decision 'imminent' – Anglo Celt

The announcement of the preferred route for the long-awaited Virginia bypass is “imminent”, The Anglo-Celt has learned, after advisors met with council officials to discuss the project this week.
Towns and villages located closest to the route are set for a major economic boost – with house prices in those areas expected to rocket.
Confirmation of the route is expected tomorrow (Thursday), August 19.
It follows the second public consultation, completed online late last year, from which five corridor options emerged, with variations and potential link roads between them.
The options include one route to the Oldcastle side of Lough Ramor, and four others to the Bruse Hill side of the lake. Virginia is the last remaining town on the N3 from Dublin to the border, and the only town on the national primary road network within 100 km of the capital, not yet bypassed.
A key commitment for the region under the Government’s Ireland 2040 plan, JB Barry Transportation Ltd is tasked with guiding the project through planning and design phases. The firm was hired after the council’s previous design for the route, agreed as far back as 2003, was binned.
Council officials and councillors met with representatives of Barry Transportation at the Hotel Kilmore on Monday, August 16. The firm previously worked on the delivery of the section of the M3 Clonee to North of Kells and M1 Northern Motorway.
Next steps
The new scheme is currently at Phase 2 ‘Options Selection’, and will revert back again to public consultation once the preferred route is formally announced. That third period of public consultation will run until the middle of next month.
The next steps include Design and Environmental Evaluation (Q4 21/Q1 22) and then, subject to Government approval, a formal planning submission, followed by Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and Compulsory Purchase Orders, due Summer/Autumn 2023.
The final phases (5-7) will require a multi-disciplinary consultancy team and take into account the substantial increase in traffic volume along the M3/N3. This will be the subject of a separate tendering process, not expected until at least 2024.
It has also been noted previously that the seven-phase bypass could take up to 10 years to deliver.
At least €2m will be spent in the coming years moving the bypass plan forward, with the council working in partnership the local authority in Meath on the project, and in association with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), formerly the National Roads Authority.
The total estimated cost could to reach as high as €130m.
The council believe, once delivered, the bypass will greatly improve safety on the N3, as well drastically reducing congestion, which has blighted Virginia town for years.
The local authority also hope to tap into the development potential of 81-acres of council owned land at Burncarragh, east of Virginia.
Routes A and C are the only options to emerge from the second public consultation with off-roads linking the junction at Dunancory (Oldcastle/ Ballyjamesduff), and at Burncarragh, where the Glanbia milk protein processing plant is also located.
The council, meanwhile, has moved to block any potential development on lands along corridors they feel would “interfere” with the delivery of the Virginia by-pass project.
The stipulation to stave off development along proposed route corridors was passed unanimously by elected members when considering a Material Amendment to the Chief Executive’s Draft Cavan County Development Plan 2022-2028 earlier this year.
The amendment, put forward by council chief Tommy Ryan, stated that the N3 corridor is a ‘critical cross border economic route’, initially identified by the local authority in the 1980s.
All routes for the new bypass link the N3 near Derver before rejoining north of Virginia at Lisgrey, and registered landowners who have lands within the emerging preferred option corridor will be informed prior to a formal announcement being made this week.

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