The N2 Clontibret to Northern Ireland Border Road Scheme commenced with the appointment of the Project Consultants in December 2008.
National Road Schemes are progressed in accordance with the National Roads Authority’s Project Management Guidelines. There are a number of different phases through which each scheme is progressed namely:
Feasibility Study, Constraints Study, Route Selection, Design, The Statutory Processes, Tender, Construction and Closeout.
The National Roads Authority is the Sanctioning Authority for the scheme responsible for evaluating business cases and development proposals and giving projects approval to proceed within budgets, standards and programmes. Monaghan County Council as the Local Authority is the Sponsoring Agency for the scheme responsible for the overall planning and management of the project.
A Steering Committee is established for the scheme in line with the Project Management Guidelines and this committee consists of staff from the Local Authority, the National Roads Authority and the Project Consultants.
The Project Consultants are currently commissioned to progress the scheme from Feasibility Phase through to the completion of the Statutory Processes. The study commission is being undertaken over a four year period that commenced with the appointment of the consultants in December 2008.
The Route Selection phase is currently (January 2011) being undertaken following on from the Constraints Study phase which was completed in March 2010.
The Client for the study commission is Monaghan County Council who in their role as statutory road authority undertake the detailed planning of individual road projects.
The final decision on the route to ultimately be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval rests with Monaghan County Council based on a recommendation made by the project Consultants. The Steering Committee guides the scheme through its phased development in accordance with the relevant requirements and policies that apply.
The N2 between Clontibret and the Northern Ireland border is part of a strategic link servicing Derry and the Northwest, currently providing a poor Level of Service for users and has sections of substandard road with a poor safety record.
The need to improve the N2 as a strategic link is outlined in Transport 21 and the National Development Plan 2007-2013.
An upgraded road will achieve a better level of service for road users by reducing journey times and increasing safety levels whilst also generating wider social and economic benefits.
The decision on the route has not been made yet (January 2011). A number of Route Corridor Options are currently being examined and consulted on.
The proposed route will start at the existing roundabout at Clontibret and will terminate at the Northern Ireland border to the south of Aughnacloy.
The selection of the Preferred Route Corridor is programmed for 2011. Following the selection of the Preferred Route Corridor a Public Display will be held to inform members of the public.
Yes, an initial public consultation in relation to the Constraints Study was held from the 13th to the 15th of July 2009 at venues in Clontibret, Emyvale and Monaghan Town.
The second public consultation took place on the 7th and 8th of July 2010 in Monaghan Town where a series of shortlisted Route Corridor Options were presented.
At both consultations, which were widely advertised, members of the public were able to provide feedback using comment forms.
Further public consultations will be held at later stages in the design process.
It should be noted that all public consultations held during the Feasibility, Constraints and Route Selection Phases of a road scheme are non-statutory and take place much earlier than required by the Roads Act. The Roads Act only provides for formal public consultation following the publication and submission to An Bord Pleanála of the Compulsory Purchase Order and Environmental Impact Statement (if required). If An Bord Pleanála decide to hold an Oral Hearing into objections to the scheme, then affected landowners (in the case of a CPO) and members of the public (in the case of an EIS) will have an opportunity to address any issues of concern in relation to the scheme.
The N2 Monaghan Bypass is a 2.3km single carriageway road with 3 roundabout junctions over its length. Whilst this scheme fulfils the requirements of County Monaghan at a local level and serves as a relief road for Monaghan Town, the N2 Clontibret to NI Border Scheme focuses on improving the N2 as a strategic cross-border link thereby improving transport links between Donegal and Dublin.
As part of the Project Consultants commission, a review of the Monaghan to Emyvale Realignment Scheme has been undertaken. As a result the current Red Corridor Option contains elements of the Monaghan to Emyvale Realignment Scheme.Sections of the existing N2 are also included in the current appraisal process.
Whilst both schemes tie in at the same location they are being progressed as individual schemes as they are both in different jurisdictions. However, continuous consultation is undertaken with Road Service Northern Ireland (RSNI) and their appointed consultants to ensure that the schemes do not adversely impact each other.
No definitive recommendations on carriageway type have yet been made in relation to the scheme; this occurs at Design Phase when more detailed traffic, economic and environmental information is available. It should be noted that forecasted traffic volume is not the sole determinant as to whether a scheme is developed to dual carriageway or another standard. In practice, the decision on road type will be determined taking account of traffic and a range of other considerations, including consistency of alignment with adjacent schemes and safety considerations in this regard, scheme specific issues (e.g. topography, ground conditions), access requirements and restrictions, cost, road safety and Government strategy and policy objectives.
The permanent traffic counter at Aughnacloy currently indicates that the AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) is of the order of 5,506; however this does not represent the AADT over the length of the study area for the scheme. In order to obtain more representative traffic data, additional traffic counts and surveys that cover the Study Area have been carried out as part of the Route Selection process for the scheme. Currently this information is being assessed and validated and a traffic model is being developed which will predict traffic patterns and AADTs for the design year for the scheme. The reduction in traffic volumes is being taken into account in this traffic model. For purposes of road design, traffic volumes are typically forecasted for a design year 15 years after anticipated road opening (generally equivalent to 18-20 years from the submission of the road scheme proposal to An Bord Pleanála for approval).
In terms of traffic and capacity the maximum capacity of a Standard Single Carriageway designed and built in accordance with the NRA Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) is of the order of 11,600. However the existing N2 may not necessarily adhere to the exacting standards contained within the DMRB (for example may not have hard shoulders, may have a smaller carriageway width or may have different junction types) and as such would have a far reduced capacity. The existing N2 also has a large number of direct accesses which would further reduce capacity and would be contrary to NRA Policy on Development Management and Access to National Roads.
The Feasibility Working Cost (FWC) for the scheme is of the order of €254m. This cost is an overall estimate and includes for construction, land costs, planning and design costs and VAT. It should be noted that the FWC is an order of magnitude estimate which is developed and updated as the scheme progresses and more detailed information becomes available. A more detailed cost estimate will be prepared as part of the Route Selection Report.
The Consultant Engineers for the scheme have been appointed by Monaghan County Council using the Standard Conditions of Engagement for Consultancy Services as per the Department of Finance public procurement process.Following a competitive tender in 2008, the consultants were commissioned to undertake a four year study for a fixed fee of €1.8M for a defined scope of works set out in the tender documentation and contract.
The Consultants are bound to the terms of this contract and the fee tendered and these are independent of the carriageway cross section which may be recommended at the Design Phase.
Funding has been allocated to date on a year to year basis to the scheme in order to progress it to Route Selection Phase. The provision of further funding for the scheme will be considered having regard to the overall level of funding allocated each year by Government to the National Roads Authority and the other priorities and demands on the available funding.
A number of factors need to be considered to allow for a detailed appraisal and comparison of the proposed Route Corridor Options. These factors are grouped under five main categories namely Environment, Safety, Economy, Accessibility and Integration.
This is dependant on the Route Corridor selected as well as the final cross section selected. However pedestrians and cyclists will be considered during the Design Phase and impacts on them and any appropriate mitigation measures will also be addressed in the documents required for the Statutory Processes.
The Scheme will be developed to take account of all affected roads, accesses, rights-of-way, etc. ensuring that access directly affected by the scheme is maintained or alternative access provided.
Consideration of junctions and accesses will form part of the development and preliminary design of the Preferred Route which will take place following completion of the current Route Selection phase.
It should be noted that each Route Corridor being examined is approximately 400m wide. This allows the development of alignments within the corridor to minimise the effects on land and property.It is possible that land or property may be affected if it currently lies within the selected Preferred Route Corridor however the lands to be compulsorily acquired for the scheme will not be determined until the Design Phase is completed and the CPO documents and drawings have been prepared.
Planning applications in or near these corridors will be reviewed as required by the Planning Authorities and may be revoked if directly affected by the scheme.
It is too early to confirm which land will be required but affected landowners from whom land is being acquired will be compensated for land that is acquired for the Scheme.
Further information can be obtained from the Monaghan Council website www.monaghan.ie under the Project within the Roads section. All enquiries and submissions should be addressed to: Con McCrossan
Monaghan County Council
Mtek 2 Building