The 10,000 vehicles that cross Slane Bridge daily are still being diverted away from the village this week as the bridge remained closed to traffic while roadworks continued on its northern approach.
The road closure, which came into effect on Monday of last week, was extended at the weekend until this coming Friday, as contractors continue to lay a new surface on the descent to the bridge over the Boyne.
Despite official diversions being put in place through Navan, much of the traffic has diverted across Stackallen bridge, causing huge congestion on small rural roads in the area.
Traffic congestion has also been reported for the past week on the M1 motorway and at Kilmoon Cross, outside Ashbourne, as traffic finds alternative routes to the city.
Councillor Wayne Harding said that the extension of the emergency road closure had put increased pressure on all minor routes around Slane village, especially Stackallen bridge.
“There are HGVs and buses using Stackallen bridge as some people are not taking the official diversion from The Square at Slane to Navan and back to Balrath. This bridge is even less capable of taking this traffic than Slane bridge,” he said.
“I have also been told that the M1 has been like a carpark all week and there is increased traffic on the N51 into Navan. It is an example just of the sheer volume of traffic that passes through Slane daily and evidence, if it were needed, that a ban on traffic from Slane will only transfer the problem elsewhere.
“The closure is of enormous inconvenience to residents and businesspeople, many of whom are travelling 10 to 15-mile journeys for what for many may have been a mile or two with the bridge open,” he added.
Cllr Harding acknowledged that the works were badly needed as the condition of the road had become increasingly dangerous. He said the closure was adding to the people of Slane’s misery and the only light at the end of the tunnel was the announcement that the oral hearings into the Slane bypass will commence on 15th February.
Contractors carrying out the roadworks, which began last Monday week, found they were unable to continue to operate a 'stop and go’ system on the road because of road subsidence and an emergency road closure was put in place last week and extended to this Friday.
The road is closed from the N51-N2 junction in the centre of the village to south of Boyne Bridge and northbound traffic is being officially diverted at Balrath Cross to Navan and back along the N51 to Slane, while southbound traffic is being diverted at Slane village to Navan and out the R153 to Balrath Cross.