DANGER and disruption during construction of the much-delayed southern circular road in Portlaoise have been strongly criticised in county hall.
The €7m project linking the Abbeyleix and Timahoe roads came under fire from cllr Catherine Fitzgerald at the latest Laois County Council meeting. She said: “It was left in complete darkness at night, where there are lots of people walking, and that’s not good enough. It was the most dangerous situation I have seen in a long time and it was left like that for the whole weekend.”
She was supported by council chairman Willie Aird, who remarked: “What they got away with was unbelievable.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said she was very disappointed at the delay in finishing the road, whose original opening date of 11 September was pushed out to mid-October. She was also annoyed at unacceptable inconvenience to householders in the area. She said: “Over the past number of weeks, water was turned off and electricity was turned off with no prior notification to householders. There has also been an extremely long delay and a lot of traffic congestion caused for so long.”
Cllr Fitzgerald questioned whether penalties for delays could be imposed on road construction companies. She added that the new road near O’Moore Park GAA grounds should be landscaped immediately or it would be “destroyed” within weeks.
She said: “Landscaping must be done straight away, because people will be driving up there to park for matches and we need to make sure that it won’t be destroyed.”
Council chief executive John Mulholland replied that he was disappointed there had been “issues” with the new road, which will complete the inner relief road around Portlaoise town. It will also improve access to the town centre, the new primary schools campus and O’Moore Park.