A total package of €110.6 will go towards the regeneration with €30m having been committed by Dept of Transport. Picture: Min Darragh O' Brien
A multi-million euro investment has been announced to realise the potential of Waterford's North Quays, transforming the heavily-populated Ferrybank and South Kilkenny area, easing congestion and opening opportunities for the wider region.
It will see €80.6 million in URDF funding for the Waterford North Quays project, with a further €30 million having been previously committed by the Department of Transport. Confirming the news this morning, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O' Brien said it represents one of the single biggest investments ever in the South-east 'which for too long has suffered from underdevelopment and under-investment'.
Local TD John Paul Phelan has welcomed the announcement, and says the provision of a link road from the Abbey Road to the Belmont, the New Ross Road out of Waterford, in particular will ease much of the bottlenecks in the area and opens it up to massive, positive development
“These investments are as transformative for my local community in Ferrybank and the surrounding hinterland as the Abbey Quarter is for Kilkenny City,” the Ferrybank-based TD said.
“Together, they pave the way and are the foundation stones for the long-awaited North Quays development and a further indication of the close cooperation that exists between Kilkenny County Council and Waterford County Council in the ongoing efforts to develop this key part of our counties along our border."
The link road from the Abbey Road to the New Ross Road aims to open up lands for housing and facilitate the planned population growth for the greater Waterford City area on the north side of the River Suir.
“The upgrade works of the Port Road will act as traffic calming and also assist the development of the land in the vicinity, particularly so north of this junction," said Deputy Phelan.
"Access to available development lands is extremely limited at present thus the delivery of this proposal is considered critical if Belview Port is to grow to its full potential into the future."
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness has also hailed the funding news.
"It's fantastic for South Kilkenny and I want to thank Minister O'Brien. I spoke to the Minister directly last night and will be meeting him today to discuss this allocation and also a number of housing projects in Kilkenny," he said.
"While this is also positive news for Waterford and they will benefit greatly from this allocation, South Kilkenny can look forward to a number of major improvements that will greatly enhance the area.
"The improvements are: The provision of a link road from the Abbey Road to the Belmont Road which will support housing activation; roundabout at the Rathculiheen/L3412junction will be provided to enable the development of the land in the vicinity, and north of this junction. Access to available development lands is extremely limited at present thus the delivery of this proposal is considered critical if Belview Port is to grow to its full potential into the future.
"The provision of additional connection points to provide for greater access and to facilitate usage of the Greenway as a smarter travel option is also very welcome and will be very beneficial. The proposed improvement works on the Abbey Road and Belmont Road to enhance these approaches and to accommodate cycling is also very welcome."
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform said that the €80 million investment in the North Quays project represented one of the biggest government interventions in the South-east region in many decades and an endorsement of the collaborative work of both Kilkenny County Council and Waterford County Council to grow the region.
"With this fund and the advancement of the Technical University for the South East, we are finally seeing a growing confidence in the region and a government willing to invest in what will be a counterbalance to the lop sided expansion of the greater Dublin area," he said.
"The active travel element of the project funded by my colleague Minister Eamon Ryan will compliment our investment in the greenway project. We want to be ready for lift off when Covid-19 is brought under control and I am of the view that the entire region will benefit from this investment. There will be spin-offs for Kilkenny too but ultimately this is about the wider regional context and ensuring that young people will have a future by staying here, going on to further education and training here and ultimately working here in sustainable, green employment, long into the future."