|The N24 Waterford to Cahir Public Consultation No. 2 on Alternative and Options has now ended. All of the material that was on display at the public consultation is available here.|
N24 Waterford to Cahir
Kilkenny County Council, in partnership with Tipperary County Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport (DoT) are developing the N24 Waterford to Cahir Project. The project has been identified for progression through pre-appraisal and early planning under the National Development Plan 2018-2027. Kilkenny County Council, as lead authority, has appointed Arup as Technical Advisors to progress the Planning and Design for the project through Phases 1 to 4 of the TII Project Management Guidelines (PMG) as outlined below.
- Phase 1 – Concept and Feasibility – Complete
- Phase 2 – Options Selection – Current Phase
- Phase 3 – Design and Environmental Evaluation
- Phase 4 – Statutory Processes
The N24 Waterford to Cahir Project forms part of the N24 national primary route, a strategic transport corridor between the cities of Limerick and Waterford. The route connects major ports as well as a number of urban centres between Limerick and Waterford dispersed along the N24 corridor. The section of the N24 being considered by this project is approximately 60km in length. It extends from the M8 Junction 10 Cahir North Roundabout, north of Cahir in Co. Tipperary, to the southern terminal of the M9 Dublin to Waterford motorway at the Quarry Roundabout, north of Waterford City in Co. Kilkenny.
The River Suir is located to the south of the N24 and runs parallel to the road between Clonmel and Mooncoin.
The N24 Waterford to Cahir Project takes precedence from previous studies for several individual road improvement schemes conducted over the past 20 years that didn’t proceed to statutory planning phases due to the inability to procure funding to progress. These include:
- N24 Carrick-on-Suir Bypass
- N24 Clonmel Outer Bypass
- N24 Clonmel to Cahir Road Improvement
- N24 Mooncoin Bypass
The N24 Cahir to Limerick Junction Project is being developed separately by Tipperary County Council.
The existing road within this section of the N24 has a variable cross-section and high incidence of junctions and accesses. Between Waterford and Cahir, the N24 passes through a number of towns and villages including Clonmel, Kilsheelan, Carrick-On-Suir and Mooncoin. When considered together, all of these factors contribute to limited overtaking opportunities and unstable traffic flow regimes along the existing route. This affects the overall journey on the existing N24 whilst also impacting severely on more sustainable transport modes and opportunities in these towns.
Agriculture and to a lesser extent, tourism, are the primary land uses throughout the N24 study area. In addition to the River Suir, the Waterford to Limerick railway line broadly follows the existing N24 between Waterford and Cahir. It deviates away from the N24 for short stretches due to natural features, with the road crossing the railway several times.
There are a number of known sites of ecological importance within the study area including the Lower River Suir Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) including Slievenamon Bog. The River Suir and its tributaries, namely the River Anner and the River Lingaun further to the north, the River Pil at Piltown, as well as the Glen River which joins the River Suir near Carrick-on-Suir, constitute the major waterways in the study area. There are a number of identified archaeological and historic sites that will constrain the option selection process as highlighted in county development plans.
It is considered that the existing road is economically inefficient and detracts from the development and growth of the region whilst also detracting from the opportunities for place making in the towns and villages on the route. One of the key objectives of this project is to provide a reliable and sustainable transport solution for the N24 corridor between Cahir and Waterford and contribute to efficient connectivity between Limerick and Waterford in line with the National Strategic Outcome (NSO) for Enhanced Regional Accessibility within the National Planning Framework (NPF). Such connectivity will encourage local, regional, national and international development to balance regional development.
In addition, the project will aim to increase social inclusion amongst the community by enhancing accessibility to key facilities, such as employment, education, transport and healthcare from designated rural zones within the N24 corridor. The objectives will support health benefits derived from potential active modes by enabling opportunities for creating a safer environment for walking and cycling. The project will also aim to reduce the frequency and severity of collisions through provision of a safer travel option for all users to support the Government’s Road Safety Strategy.
Project specific objectives have been developed as part of Phase 1. These will be reviewed and amended if necessary as the project progresses. Potential solutions shall be assessed against these objectives.
What’s Happening Now
Phase 1, Concept and Feasibility, of the project was completed in April 2021 and Phase 2, Options Selection is ongoing. The purpose of Phase 1 was to identify the transport problems and establish the need for a project. During Phase 2, potential transport solutions to address the issues identified have been developed with a view to identifying the preferred transport solution. Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed in Q3 2023.
The first non-statutory public consultation on ‘Constraints’ took place between 04 May 2021 and 01 June 2021. The purpose of this consultation was to inform the public of the study area for the project, the key constraints identified to date, and the programme for advancement of the project. The second non-statutory public consultation on ‘Alternatives and Options” took place between 03 May 2022 and 20 May 2022. The purpose of this second consultation was to present the potential transport solutions to the public and to seek feedback to inform the design of the project. All potential solutions that were presented to the public are currently being assessed through a two-stage comparative assessment of their potential impacts, and their relative success in achieving the project objectives to determine the preferred solution for the project. The preferred solution is currently scheduled to be put on Public Display in Q2 2023.