Narrow bridges

More public meetings are planned on Greenway’s plans for three bridges

MORE than a hundred people attended Wednesday night’s public meeting held at Valleymount Hall regarding concerns over the plans for the three bridges that span the Blessington Lakes included as part of the recently submitted application for the Blessington Greenway.

The position appears to rise from plans to place concrete dividers in the center of the bridges to allow pedestrians and cyclists to use one side, while the other side will be reserved for vehicles

Wednesday’s meeting was hosted by Tom Kelly of Manor Kilbride IFA, while another public meeting hosted by the newly formed Greenway Concern Group is scheduled for 8pm this Thursday at St Brigid’s Hall, Manor Kilbride.

Describing the meeting at Valleymount Hall, Mr. Kelly said: “We were very pleased with the attendance of 112 people. Everyone present was in favor of the greenway, but not of the plans for the three bridges. The problem is that they are too narrow and will lead to traffic jams. It will be very difficult for vehicles like harvesters and traffic to maneuver along the bridges.

“Someone calculated that if you went to Blessington every morning and every evening, you would face delays of five minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening. For six days, that’s an hour and a half, which equals six hours in the month and 72 hours in the year sitting at traffic lights wasting fuel.

Members of the local farming community are also concerned that not enough is being done to protect their livestock from dogs allowed to roam off-leash on the greenway.

“Dog control is another major issue. Dog proof fencing must surround the greenway so that any livestock are protected from the threat of dog attacks,” Mr Kelly added.

Councilor Gerry O’Neill will attend the public meeting to be held at Manor Kilbride on Thursday evening, to which all local representatives have been invited.

He said: “99% of people are completely in favor of the Blessington Greenway. What they don’t support are split bridge plans, especially when there is an alternative, such as cantilever bridges, which were included in the first plan. The bridge division plans were made without any consultation with local officials or the local community. We are now at the mercy of An Bord Pleanála and their decision is final.