N11 / N25 Oilgate to Rosslare Harbour Scheme
Option Selection process Update
8th March 2021
Update on Option Selection Process
The appraisal of scheme options to identify the preferred scheme option is now nearing completion. These are times of uncertainty and transformation, and the project must respond to these changes in order to ensure the development of a proposed scheme that meets the future needs of society in a sustainable and effective manner and in line with changing government policy. As a result, the option selection process is taking longer than was initially anticipated. In these circumstances a project newsletter has been prepared to describe some of the complexities and challenges that have extended the option selection process, and to present some of the studies that are being carried out to assess the potential impacts that these changes may have on the project’s development. The newsletter also provides a timeline for the anticipated announcement of the preferred scheme option. The newsletter is available to view and download below and arrangements are being made with An Post to deliver copies of the newsletter directly to homes in the coming weeks.
Wexford County Council is working in association with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to develop an approximate 30km section of high quality road which will link Rosslare Europort/Wexford with both Dublin via the M11 and Cork/Waterford via the N25. The M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy motorway was opened to traffic in July 2019, and the project is studying the existing N11 to the south of this motorway, through Oilgate village and on to Wexford, as well as the connecting N25 road from Wexford to Rosslare Harbour. These routes form part of the European Designated E01 Route and provide a direct link to both mainland Europe and the United Kingdom via Rosslare Europort. This is a strategically important parts of the national transport network and the project aims to ensure that the sections of the network in question have the capacity and resilience to safely meet the future transport needs on a national, regional and local level. The need for the project will be tested by the level of service provided to road users by the network now and into the future with a focus on road safety, traffic levels, journey times, operational performance and network deficiencies.
The main priorities of the scheme are to;
- Reduce the frequency and severity of collisions and casualties on the N11 & N25,
- Generate positive economic benefits to businesses and consumers by improving journey time reliability and reducing journey times,
- Stimulate regional development by improving connectivity to Rosslare Europort & Wexford,
- Support investment in the wider area in order to increase access to jobs, key facilities and social opportunities,
- Improve the general quality of life,
- Meet the demands of increasing population
- Provide for major investment in rural regions
- Avoid or minimise negative impacts on the existing environment
Wexford County Council have appointed Mott MacDonald Ireland Limited to advance the project through the planning and design process. The design process will be developed in stages, with opportunity for the public to take part in the decision-making at each stage.
Some work was previously carried out on the project between 2009 and 2011. A constraints study was initially completed, comprising of four main aspects; physical, procedural, legal and environmental issues that may affect the proposed development. The constraints were researched in detail to determine all possible issues that could influence the scheme’s development. The results from this study were analysed and used to develop potential route locations. Each of the eight identified potential routes started north of Oilgate and finished at Rosslare Harbour.
To facilitate inclusive public engagement, a series of public consultation events were held to collect and assess views on the proposed development, particularly in terms of how the potential route options would impact on the public. This allowed for a preferred route corridor for the scheme to be determined. A 300m wide planning corridor is currently in place for the scheme following the publication of a Route Selection Report in 2011. The 300m wide corridor allows for flexibility during the detailed design of the scheme
This scheme is a vital link between mainland Europe and the island of Ireland. With the opening of the M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy Motorway scheme in July 2019, the section of the network in question is the only section of the 375km Euroroute E01 from Larne to Rosslare, not operating to high quality, dual carriageway / motorway standard. As mentioned previously this road scheme is consistent with objectives of national, regional and local policies and plans.
The constraints study and route selection process is being revisited due to the nine year time lapse since the previous processes were completed in 2011. The studies completed at that time will be utilised for the current studies and will be complemented with up to date studies to identify any changes to the natural and built environment in the intervening years. This will ensure that critical decisions on the project are made on the basis of up to date information and assessments.
Timeline of Project
Wexford County Council has been allocated funding in 2019 & 2020 to advance planning and design work on the project. During 2020 it is proposed to undertake various studies and it is anticipated that an initial public information and consultation exercise will proceed in in the spring of 2020 with further public consultations later in 2020. Wexford County Council is conscious that local residents and communities would like greater certainty with regard to the final proposals for the project and timelines for planning and construction. Following the anticipated final confirmation of the route corridor in 2020 and the completion of design and environmental assessment processes, it is anticipated that the project could proceed through the statutory planning processes by the end of 2022 at the earliest. The project is still at an early stage of development, and it is not therefore possible at this time to indicate a likely timeframe for construction of the project which will be dependent upon the outcome of the statutory planning approval process and the securing of the necessary funding. Progress on the project is subject to ongoing funding from Transport Infrastructure Ireland.