Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) said that tolls must not be introduced on the N2 as they would only lead to an increase in HGVs passing through small towns and villages, such as Curragha, Ratoath and Ashbourne.
Deputy Doherty was speaking after the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, issued the National Roads Authority (NRA) with a report outlining a number of alternatives to the Slane bypass.
“Since the proposed Slane bypass was refused permission by An Bord Pleanála earlier this year, local residents have been left in limbo and continue to suffer as a result of the huge volume of trucks and lorries that pass through the village every day. The status quo is putting lives at risk, and it is essential that a long term solution is found that doesn’t just force Slane’s problems onto other villages in Meath.
“The NRA is now considering three options; covering the cost of M1 tolls for HGVs, tolling the N2 at Slane or Ashbourne or implementing the Traffic Management Plan for the village, the final draft of which lies with Meath County Council.
“Surely the most feasible option – and the only option in my view - is for Meath County Council to immediately implement the Traffic Management Plan. Tolling the N2 would be a disaster for the residents of other villages in Meath which will suffer as a result. We all know that installing tolls on the road would simply push more toll-dodging HGVs into Ratoath, Ashbourne and Curragha.
“Lives are already being put at risk in Slane and the quality of life of residents is being negatively impacted due to HGV traffic. We need to get HGVs off the N2 and out of Slane, rather than charging them to use the road and creating problems elsewhere.
“A sustainable alternative to the bypass that will prevent accidents and improve the lives of those living in Slane and elsewhere must be adopted. Meath County Council must liaise with the NRA to ensure the best solution becomes a reality by implementing the Traffic Management Plan without delay.”