A major new planning application has been submitted to create a traffic bypass in Slane, Co Meath.
The scenic village located on the N2 is famous for the concerts at Slane Castle, but for many locals it has become a bottleneck for traffic between Derry and Dublin that increases the risk of accidents.
It is estimated that around 17,000 vehicles pass through the village every day from the N2 and N51 routes, including 2,800 heavy goods vehicles.
A previous bypass application was rejected 12 years ago, but the new 3.5km proposal includes a dual carriageway and a 258-metre bridge crossing the Boyne River.
Aiming to improve traffic levels, air quality, vibration emissions and traffic noise – public spaces around the village would also be enhanced as well as dedicated walking and cycling routes to enhance the village centre.
According to Meath County Council, the works are “essential to achieve a safe, reliable and sustainable multi-modal transport network” to benefit the village as well as wider concerns of sustainable land use, transport and climate mitigation.
The Bypass Slane Campaign group said that 23 people have been killed on roads around the village since the last bypass application was rejected in 2012.
In a statement, they said: “We hope that this new application by Meath County Council will stand up to the robust scrutiny that will most definitely come, from sections both inside and outside of our community, and that they will finally deliver this desperately needed piece of infrastructure for Slane.”
After residents have lived with “intolerable danger of heavy traffic and put up with the degradation of our village environment,” the group said they were hopeful it would be granted approval.
The 2012 application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála, stating the bypass would have been too close to the World Heritage site of Brú na Bóinne.
Meath County Council say this has been accounted for in the new proposal as well as taking into account changes in environmental legislation.
The plan would also mean the compulsory purchase of some lands, with the property owners notified.