Plans for a new distributor road linking the north of the town with the R147 Kells Road are advancing with the route selection process now under way.
Three potential route corridors for the proposed new road linking the Rathaldron Road with the Kells Road were outlined at a recent public consultation meeting.
The new road will essentially continue on from the Clonmagadden Road and provide an alternative route to the town and take traffic bound for the M3 and the Kells side of Navan away from the town centre.
The map outlining the possible link road options winding around Blackwater Park.
The first part of the route is the same in all three corridor options but then it branches into three potential routes for where the new road will join the R147.
One comes out close to the Blackwater Retail Park, another at the Kells Road roundabout and the third option would join the Kells Road east of the Balmoral Industrial Estate.
At present the only route into Navan from the North of the town is via the inner relief road linking the Round O with the fire station and this route is a nightmare in the mornings with lengthy tailbacks on the Rathaldron Road, as well as the Proudstown Road and the Slane Road.
Local councillors Padraig Fitzsimons who lives out the Rathaldron Road said he goes six miles out of his way to come in by the Silver Tankard rather than travel a mile into town. "If you don't leave before 8am, you will be in the queue for half an hour to get to St Paul's NS."
OPTION 1: Blackwater Retail Park. Route A1 would see the new road emerge onto the R147 Kells Road beside Blackwater Retail Park on the town side. This route seems the least favourable as the route corridor passes through existing properties.
The distributor road scheme aims to provide a high quality road between the north of Navan and the M3 motorway thereby reducing traffic congestion in the town centre and at the Round O junction. It also aims to provide access to development lands in the north of the town, particularly the Clonmagadden Strategic Development Zone.
Meath County Council have commissioned consultant engineering firm AECOM to progress the scheme development for this road which is known as local distributor road 4 at Abbeylands and the route selection process is currently under way.
OPTION 2: Navan Kells road roundabout / former Dept of Agriculture buidling. Route B1 is possibly the most likely route corridor to be selected. The corridor passes through the vacant former Department of Agriculture offices coming out on the roundabout on the Kells Road, which continues on to the Andy Connolly roundabout giving access to the M3. It is the most direct route to bring traffic to the M3 motorway, which is one of the objectives of the scheme.
An information evening recently took place in the Ardboyne Hotel when the three route corridors and study area were outlined. Interested parties were invited to complete a questionnaire which could be handed in at the meeting or submitted to the council's transport department by 26th January.
The comments received will be considered as part of the route selection process and following assessment of all information, an emerging preferred route corridor will be selected.
A preliminary design of the preferred route will then be prepared and this will involve further detailed surveys and investigations to finalise the design.
The scheme is expected to be subject to a compulsory purchase order and Environmental Impact Assessment/Environmental Impact Statement before being submitted to An Bord Pleanala for approval.
Meath County Council Director of Services Des Foley said: "This is a strategic route that has been identified in the Navan Development Plan for many years. It is an important route into the town from the North side of the town. The only entry into the town currently is the road form the Round O to the fire station and that is already a very busy route.
This will provide an alternative route and new bridge into the town for motorists coming into the town and it will also allow for further housing development on the north side of the town where lands are already zoned."
He said this is the first stage of the process to decide on the route selection and the next stage will be to select the preferred route and go to detailed design. There is also likely to be compulsory purchase orders involved and an environmental impact assessment. It will then be submitted to Bord Pleanala for approval.
Meath County Council hopes to submit the route for planning at some point next year and in the meantime, the council will be making the case for funding with the Department of Transport.
OPTION 3: Balmoral Industrial Estate. Route C1 would see the new road join the R147 Kells Road beside Balmoral Industrial Estate where there is already a traffic light junction. In recent years, the entrance to the Balmoral Industrial Estate was moved to the junction which was upgraded to provide an access road into the industrial estate.
The council has allocated funding in its capital budget to progress the scheme through the planning stages but the construction costs will require funding from the Department of Transport.
Ultimately, the council would intend to extend the route further linking the Proudstown Road with the Slane Road.
The distributor road linking the Rathaldron Road with the Kells Road is one of a three strategic routes being worked on by the council.
The second will see the Trim Road and Dublin Road eventually connected and the third will open up the Farganstown lands and eventually link the Kentstown Road with the Boyne Road.