Frequently Asked Questions

N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link Scheme

The project aims to improve the section of the N52 national route between the Tullamore Bypass and the M6 motorway junction at Kilbeggan. This 8km section of the N52 is currently operating above capacity, with a narrow hard shoulder, along with many private access points and public junctions.

Due to COVID-19 it is not possible to hold formal events at this time. Therefore, in relation to the First Public Consultation Process (Study Area & Constraints), an information brochure has been distributed to residents, businesses and landowners throughout the Study Area and is also available for download on this website (see Public Consultation section). A questionnaire has also been distributed within the Study Area along with the brochure, to allow members of the public to have their say on the project. Members of the public can also make their submission online through this website (see Contacts section). The Constraints Maps produced for this stage of the project can be viewed and downloaded from the Publications section of this website.

Phase 1 Concept & Feasibility stage is complete, and we are now at the Phase 2 Options Selection stage.

The Study Area and Scheme Constraints are being identified:

  • We have identified the broad project study area within which the proposed road could feasibly be located.
  • The project team is now in the process of identifying any constraints within this area that could impact on how and where the Scheme is designed.
  • Constraints include Economic, Engineering and Environmental issues such as communities, industry, archaeological and environmental factors, that the project team needs to be aware of before it progresses to designing a route 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 project is referenced in a number of policy documents including but not limited to Project Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework (2018) and Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan (2018 – 2027), however the advancement of the project is subject to ongoing funding and statutory approvals.

The TII Project Management Guidelines (PMG) informs the design process. A study area has been defined and constraints are being identified at present.  A period of non-statutory public consultation is now open and will close on the 27th July 2020.

Offaly County Council and Westmeath County Council Planning Departments have the responsibility for planning and managing development within their respective Counties.  New planning applications within the study area may have an impact on the delivery of this project.  Planning applications and new developments may still be granted within the study area, however as some planning applications may affect the project all relevant planning applications will be reviewed by the Project Team.  Each application will be considered on a case by case basis.

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. As a result, all previous work must be revisited.

Investment objectives in road infrastructure have been outlined in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 as follows:

  • Increased Investment in Roads Programmes; and
  • Investment in national, regional and local road infrastructure will be delivered in accordance with the NPF.

It will be guided by the findings of the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport’s Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport (SIFLT) analysis:

  • Roads will be maintained to a high quality;
  • Roads will be improved to reduce journey times, remove bottlenecks and improve safety; and
  • New roads will be built to connect communities and encourage economic activity.

Objectives for individual road schemes should be a local implementation of the Government’s overarching transport objectives (Environment, Economy, Safety, Integration, Accessibility and Physical Activity) as set out in the Common Appraisal Framework (CAF).

Initial objectives for the N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link Scheme are as below. It should be noted these may evolve as the scheme is developed.

Economy:

  • To reduce the costs of travel between the endpoints of the scheme at an investment cost that offers good value for money.

Safety:

In order to reduce the potential for collisions through provision of a road alignment in accordance with current design standards this scheme will seek to:

  • Provide safe overtaking opportunities for motorists along the route in accordance with design standards;
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of collisions by providing a safer route for all users;
  • Reduce junction numbers and conflict points for N52 traffic;
  • To improve safety for vulnerable road users and provide better environment for vulnerable road users within the study area; and
  • Support the RSA Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020.

Integration:

  • To improve the connectivity and route consistency of the national road network;
  • To be compatible with land use objectives as set out in regional and local land use plans; and
  • To improve transport links between the North of Ireland and linking the Midlands.

Environment:

  • Minimise the environmental impact and the private land take required for the scheme.

Accessibility and Social Inclusion:

  • To reduce social exclusion by enhancing accessibility to services from designated rural zones within the study area; and
  • To improve road based public transport by improving journey times and journey time reliability.

Physical Activity:

  • Provide opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists as part of this scheme.