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Naas Inner Relief Road

The elected members of Naas Municipal District have a crucial decision to make on 16 April which will affect the future of Naas and its environs.

The delivery of a Naas Inner Relief Road has been an objective of Kildare County Council since 1992 and was granted Part 8 planning approval in February 2006.  Due to funding constraints it was not possible to deliver the route at that time and complete the inner relief road.

Naas town and environs has undergone a considerable increase in population since 1992, with the population of the urban area now circa 21,000. The Draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (as published by the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly, 2018), identifies Naas as a key town providing employment with public transport links.  The population forecast for Naas is ~30,000 by 2023. 

More than 17,000 vehicles currently travel through Main Street Naas on weekdays. Over 90% of Naas households have at least one car while over 94% of households in Sallins have at least one car – both towns have a high car mode share for work and education trips.  Kildare County Council secured LIHAF funding of €4,500,000 towards the costs to complete the Naas Inner Relief Road to deliver the following local benefits: 

1. Improved access to and a reduction in congestion in Naas Town Centre, facilitating public realm improvements in the town, the redesign of Poplar Square, new and improved footpaths and street furniture, and the undergrounding of overhead cables.

2. Completion of the southern Ring Road around Naas diverting heavy good vehicles from the town centre.

3. Improved infrastructure, e.g. footways, cycle tracks, and bus bays for pedestrians and cyclists for the existing/new residential population bordering the roadway.

4. Delivery of the “Minor Greenway” as per Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Cycle Network Plan; improving physical fitness levels and promoting a non-car based future for many of Naas residents and the business community.

5. The new road will facilitate the provision of much needed housing and whose lack of delivery would likely restrict further development (beyond already granted planning permissions) in the environs of the Naas Inner Relief Road.

In October 2017, Clifton Scannell Emerson Associates (working on behalf of Kildare County Council) undertook a detailed and extensive Route Selection Process. This involved identifying a suitable Study Area for the examination of alternative routes, the development of feasible route options and the carrying out of a systematic assessment of those options leading to the selection of a Preferred Route Corridor which would form the basis of a follow-on detailed design. This process also involved taking into account the most up to date road design standards and EU regulations.

Further to the carrying out of detailed noise modelling, noise barriers (varying between 1.5 metre and 3.5 metre high), and 2 metre high block walls are proposed at various locations along the preferred route of the Naas Inner Relief Road (Route 2).  All surrounding estates will have full access to the proposed road, new cycle tracks and footways.

At Stage 1 of the selection process, eight alternative routes were fully assessed using the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) Project Management Guidelines, based on the criteria of Environment, Economy and Engineering.  The result of the Stage 1 analysis was announced to the public at a Non-Statutory Public Consultation that was held at Kildare County Council Offices in February 2018.

For Stage 2, three routes were selected for further detailed analysis. In compliance with the Government’s Common Appraisal Framework for Transport Projects and Programmes, those routes were examined against the following six multi-criteria categories; Economy, Safety, Physical Activity, Environment, Integration and Accessibility and Social Inclusion.

As part of the analysis, traffic modelling was carried out to determine the best route option.  The model was calibrated and validated in line with TII’s Project Appraisal Guidelines.  Extensive traffic studies were undertaken to take full account of the current traffic volumes throughout Naas.

Future traffic growth up to 2035 was accounted for in the modelling process by generating traffic growth profiles based on the predicted growth in population and employment in Naas in the period 2018 to 2035.

As outlined in Figure 6.2 and Table 6.4 of the Route Selection Report and in accordance with the traffic modelling, the opening year Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) is predicted to be less than 7,500 vehicles (report available at www.kildarecoco.ie/PublicConsultations Part 8 Schemes).  A maximum AADT of 11,278 vehicles is predicted on the proposed road by 2035.  .

Kildare County Council supports the current Part 8 planning application to construct the Naas Inner Relief Road and considers that Route 2 will bring the important and necessary improvements to the town and the local community.

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