THE future look of Kilkenny city’s roads and the time frame for completing several projects have been outlined in a document prepared for Kilkenny County Council.
The environmental impact statement (EIS) for a revised design of the proposed Central Access Scheme bridge includes the following assumptions about “key development sites” in order to calculate traffic projections for the city’s streets: “Development at the Kilkenny Mart (City Mart) will be 37% complete in 2015, 90% complete in 2022 and 100% complete in 2030. Development at Loughmacask will be 30% complete in 2015, 42% complete in 2022 and 55% complete in 2030. Development in the Western Environs will be 13% complete in 2015, 29% complete in 2022 and 48% complete in 2030. Development in the Leggettsrath area will be 5% complete in 2015, 10% complete in 2022 and 20% complete in 2030.”
In addition, the year 2022 is suggested as a completion date for a Northern (Ring Road) bridge in Kilkenny city. The same year is projected for the completion of a Loughmacask Road network (phase 3 of the originally proposed Kilkenny Central Access Scheme) and “50% of Western Environs Internal Road network”, as these roads are factored into the traffic projections starting in the years cited.
The revised proposal for the Central Access Scheme outlines plans for a new street from St Canice’s Place to the Castlecomer Road, including a new bridge over the Nore south of Green’s Bridge. The bridge “has been specifically designed to be attractive to pedestrians” and incorporates a viewing platform.
The formerly proposed cable-stay bridge has been replaced by “a simpler elegant structure that will be closer to grade”, according to the EIS.
Advantages of the selected bridge design of “three-span concrete with isolated pier supports” are cited as: clear open aspect of centre span, ease of maintenance, low potential for anti-social problems, and cheapest of the options. Listed disadvantages include: limited aesthetic appeal, limited opportunities for lighting, and construction challenges.
The bridge and road are intended for low-speed urban traffic and are “designed to discourage speeds of above 30kph”, including signalised junctions at Vicar Street and the Castlecomer Road.
In calculating the traffic projections, due to the economic downturn a growth rate of 0% was factored in from 2006-2016, followed by 1.5% growth per annum from 2016 to 2030.
“In the absence of the altered scheme, the traffic congestion currently being experienced on John’s Bridge and Green’s Bridge will become worse,” the EIS states. “The results of the traffic modelling also clearly show that the additional capacity which would be provided by the altered scheme is required to allow any proposed one-way system to operate efficiently within the city centre.”
“The traffic modelling also supports the need for both the altered scheme and the proposed Northern (Ring Road) River Crossing,” it states.
The EIS was lodged with An Bord Pleanála on February 7; a decision is due in late July.