The N52 route links Ardee, Co Louth to Nenagh, Co Tipperary via a series of villages and significant towns including Kells, Mullingar, Tyrrellspass, Kilbeggan, Tullamore and Birr. The N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link will connect Tullamore in Co. Offaly to the M6 at Kilbeggan in Co. Westmeath.
The N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link scheme has been identified in the National Development Plan (2018-2027). The scheme was proposed under the NDP to be progressed through pre-appraisal and early planning during 2018 in order to prioritise projects which are proceeding to construction in the National Development Plan.
Offaly County Council, in conjunction with Westmeath County Council, have commissioned consultants RPS to provide the engineering and consultancy services required to deliver the proposed scheme through Phases 1 to 4 of the TII Project Management Guidelines, including:
- Phase 1 Concept & Feasibility
- Phase 2 Options Selection
- Phase 3 Design & Environmental Evaluation
- Phase 4 Statutory Processes
Work began originally on the N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link scheme in the mid-2000’s. Previously a Preferred Route Corridor and Route Selection Report were published in 2009, which progressed to draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in 2011. However at that time the scheme was suspended due to funding constraints.
Recent changes have occurred in relation to:
- Environmental Legislation
- Design Standards
- Requirements of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform (The Public Spending Code)
Therefore it is now necessary to fully re-appraise the project through the TII Project Management Process, including:
- Phase 1: Concept & Feasibility
- Phase 2: Options Selection
- Phase 3: Design & Environmental Evaluation
- Phase 4: Statutory Processes
All previous studies carried out must now be revisited.
Need for the Scheme
The N52 currently operates above capacity, carrying over 14,000 vehicles per day, on a single carriageway with a narrow hard shoulder, including many private access points and public junctions.
The N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Road is an important element of Ireland’s National Secondary Route. It links the north-east and
the south-west of Ireland, from Ardee in County Louth to Nenagh in County Tipperary and services the towns of Kells, Mullingar, Tyrrellspass, Kilbeggan, Tullamore and Birr.
The new N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link scheme will benefit local people and all road users.
The overall aim of the proposed new scheme is to improve connectivity within The Midlands and address existing operational and safety issues.
The Scheme will:
- improve the quality of this strategically important road
- improve connectivity within The Midlands
- result in shorter and safer car, truck and bus journeys
- improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and those living along the route
- improve road safety and accident reduction
The N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link scheme aligns with a variety of policies and plans for the region and the country, including:
- Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework (NPF)
- National Development Plan (2018-2027),
- Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport (SIFLT),
- Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020
- Eastern & Midland Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy 2019-2031
- Westmeath County Development Plan (2014-2020), incl. draft 2021-2027
- Offaly County Development Plan (2014-2020), incl. draft 2021-2027
- Tullamore Town & Environs Local Area Plan (extended until 2020).