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.
For this Third Public Consultation (Emerging Preferred Route Corridor), an information brochure and questionnaire 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).
In compliance with current COVID-19 measures, and to provide access to project information in a safe environment, an online consultation room is available at www.n52tullamoretokilbeggan.ie.
All project information, including an interactive map of the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor and the consultation questionnaire is available to view and submit online. The N52 Project Team is also available to answer any questions and provide information to assist you with your submission.
Manned in-person consultation days are arranged for Monday 20th September and Wednesday 29th September at the Tullamore Court Hotel, where interested parties will have an opportunity to discuss the scheme with the Project Team. Please click here to access the online booking system.
Attendance at these in-person consultation days is strictly by appointment only and will be limited to 2 persons per booking. Walk-ins will not be possible. A booking system is available in the online consultation room, where a meeting slot can be booked with a member of the Project Team. Strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing will apply, and proof of vaccination may be requested.
During the 6-week consultation period, the Project Team are available for phone calls and follow-up online meetings as required. All feedback should be returned to the Project Team by 29th October 2021. Alternatively, the Project Team can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 01 5239274 (Weekdays 9am-5pm).
The N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link Scheme is now at the ‘Option Selection’ Phase in accordance with the TII Project Management Guidelines.
Stage 1 of the Option Selection Phase, which included a Public Consultation held from June-July 2020, identified constraints within the study area. The Project Team then used engineering, environmental and economic criteria to identify feasible Route Corridor Options for the N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Link Scheme.
Five Route Corridor Options were identified to proceed to Stage 2 of the Option Selection Phase, which included a Public Consultation held in November-December 2020.
As part of Phase 2 of the Option Selection Phase, the feedback from the initial consultation process was considered by the Project Team. Ecological surveys were carried out within the study area from August-September 2020 to enable the identification of habitats, plants and animals. The development of Stage 1 Preliminary Route Corridor Options progressed during this period with the Project Team examining engineering, environmental and economic factors.
The Project Team has undertaken an appraisal of the Route Corridor Options published in November 2020 and has considered feedback received through the second non-statutory Public Consultation to identify an ‘Emerging Preferred Route Corridor’. We now seek your feedback on this Emerging Preferred Route Corridor.
The project is now at Stage 3 of the Option Selection Phase. The Project Team is currently conducting its third non-statutory Public Consultation, looking for feedback on the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor. The Emerging Preferred Route Corridor is a combination of Option 2 (Purple Corridor) and Option 3 (Orange Corridor) from the five Route Corridor Options determined for the second phase of Public Consultation.
View the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor map here.
The Emerging Preferred Route Corridor is a combination of Option 2 (Purple Corridor) and Option 3 (Orange Corridor). During the scheme appraisal process, this combination option was developed as a means of further minimising impact on the Ballybought Castle site. It joins the section of Option 2 (Purple) south of the L2006 High Road, with Option 3 (Orange) north of the L2006 High Road.
The route corridor is circa 8.1km in length and maximises the use of existing upgraded sections of the N52; i.e. the approach to the Tullamore Bypass at the south and the approach to the M6 Motorway junction at the north.
The route corridor follows the existing N52 until just north of the L2003 Ballynamona Road, where it diverges to the east. It crosses the L2005 and the L2006 High Road before merging back with the existing N52 again, north of the county boundary in the townland of Curraghglass.
Following completion of the Stage 2 Project Appraisal process, a combination of Options 2 and 3 (referred to as Combination Option 2-3) was identified as the optimum Route Corridor Option, having regard to the overall benefits and impacts based on the six criteria to be considered for transport projects.
Consequently, Combination Option 2-3 was identified as the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor for the following reasons:
- Taking account of the full range of Environmental assessments, Option 2-3 presents as being one of the least adversely impactful of all the options.
- Combination Option 2-3 performed best under Economy. While all options have a positive Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of greater than 1, where the benefits are expected to outweigh the costs, Combination Option 2-3 achieved the highest BCR, combined with the lowest scheme costs.
- Combination Option 2-3 provides highly positive Safety benefits.
- Combination Option 2-3 also provides positive benefits under Integration, Accessibility & Social Inclusion, and Physical Activity.
The Project Team welcomes feedback on any issues or information, relating to the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor, which you think should be considered by the engineers and environmental consultants in identifying the Final Preferred Route.
In compliance with current COVID-19 measures, and to provide access to project information in a safe environment, an online virtual consultation room is available at www.n52virtualconsultation.ie.
Manned in-person consultation days have been arranged for Monday 20th September and Wednesday 29th September at the Tullamore Court Hotel. Attendance at these in-person consultation days is strictly by appointment only and will be limited to 2 persons per booking. Walk-ins will not be possible. Please visit the online booking system through the online consultation room, where a meeting slot can be booked with a member of the Project Team.
All project information, including an interactive map of the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor and the consultation questionnaire, is available to view and submit online.
Once you have viewed the scheme information including the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor map, please complete the consultation questionnaire and return it:
- Online: Complete the Online Questionnaire
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan Project Team, RPS, West Pier, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
All feedback should be returned to the Project Team by 29th October 2021.
An Emerging Preferred Route Corridor is the Route Corridor that has been assessed as providing the optimum combination of benefits and impacts with regard to the 6 criteria to be considered for transport projects:
- Accessibility and Social Inclusion
- Physical Activity
The Option Selection Process for the proposed scheme is being undertaken in accordance with TII’s Project Management Guidelines, in combination with TII’s Project Appraisal Guidelines, and applicable regulations and guidance. The Option Selection Process examines the alternatives/options against defined criteria and sub-criteria, and the scheme objectives through a systematic three Stage appraisal approach. The three stages of the Option Selection Process are shown in the diagram below.
The purpose of the Option Selection Process is to identify the optimum solution (or ‘Preferred Option’ as shown below) having regard to the overall benefits and impacts based on the six criteria to be considered for transport projects.
Feedback and submissions received throughout this consultation will be considered by the Project Team in order to identify the Final Preferred Route, thus completing all three stages of the Option Selection Process.
Feedback and submissions received throughout this 3rd non-statutory Public Consultation will be considered by the Project Team before a Preferred Route Corridor (‘Preferred Option’) is finalised. The Phase 2 Option Selection Process will then be completed, and the ‘Option Selection Report’ and ‘Preferred Route’ will be published. As indicated on the Public Consultation Roadmap below this is expected to take place in late 2021.
Updates, news and details will be published on www.n52tullamoretokilbeggan.ie.
The project is currently at the ‘Option Selection’ Phase in accordance with the TII Project Management Guidelines. Landowners whose properties are located within the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor are encouraged to engage with the Project Team.
It is important to note that the 200m corridor does not represent the actual width of the road scheme or the lands to be acquired – the corridor is a route option within which a road scheme could feasibly be developed.
The Project Team will make every effort to minimise the impact of this improvement scheme on private landholdings. Where it is necessary to acquire lands to accommodate the improvements, the Project Team will be liaising directly with impacted landowners.
It should be noted that the boundary of the Route Corridor may be subject to change as the project develops to address any new or previously unidentified constraints emerging during the design process.
Based on the current project programme, it is anticipated that the Final Preferred Route will be identified later in 2021.
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 changes to funding constraints. Since 2011 Changes to environmental legislation, design standards and the public spending code mean it is now necessary to fully re-appraise the project through the TII Project Management Process. All previous studies carried out must now be revisited.
Overall, there is strong support for the project, though, understandably, some people are frustrated at the length of time it has taken. Elected representatives, local residents and commuters have welcomed the recent announcements that funds have been allocated to the project and that a contract has been awarded to bring the proposed scheme, from the Concept and Feasibility study stage through to the Statutory Processes.
In 2019, RPS was appointed by Offaly County Council to deliver the proposed scheme through Phase 1 (Concept and Feasibility), Phase 2 (Option Selection), Phase 3 (Design and Environmental Evaluation) and Phase 4 (Statutory Processes) of TIIs PMG 2019.
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 Irelandâ€™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.
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 Sportâ€™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 Governmentâ€™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.
- To reduce the costs of travel between the endpoints of the scheme at an investment cost that offers good value for money.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Provide opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists as part of this scheme.