Commuters to Dublin face years of road works in Wicklow

Consultants asked to consider how bus lane could be added to N11 at Glen o’the Downs

Commuters to Dublin from Wicklow and Wexford are facing years of road works and delays as detailed plans emerge for a third lane and junction closures along sections of the road between Loughlinstown Hospital and Ashford.

Traffic on the M11/N11 road has risen dramatically since the Glen o’ the Downs road was widened to a dual carriageway, going from 25,600 vehicles a day in 1999, to 53,000 last year.

Traffic volume grows to 78,000 when it is counted north of Bray, on the M11 just inside the Co Dublin border. Some 20,000 of these vehicles are from Co Wexford, about 14,000 of them recorded north of Gorey.

Wicklow County Council is set to start work on a parallel service road to the southbound lane of the N11 at Kilmacanogue, in a matter of weeks.

Separately, Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s regional design office is to launch a second phase of public consultation in Co Wicklow on Tuesday, in relation to a major upgrade of the road between the M50/M11 merge in south Dublin and Coyne’s Cross just north of Ashford.

Third lane

The 22-kilometre scheme is set to include a third lane on the M11/N11 stretching from the M50 merge southwards to south of the village of Kilmacanogue, a distance of about 10km.

While the public consultation is only proposing "options", the options include the redesign of a number of junctions and closure of a range of smaller access roads from north of Bray to Coyne's Cross. Proposals for redesign include Fassaroe and Killarney Road, Kilmacanogue, Glenview and Delgany interchanges.

Access roads

In addition, a number of access roads will be closed to improve traffic flow on the N11. Proposals for these include turns between the N11 and the Enniskerry Road, the Herbert Road access to Bray, as well as roads from the N11 to Willow Grove and Drummin and from the N11 northbound to Delgany at Barry’s Bridge.

Wicklow County Councillors have also asked design consultants Arup and the regional design office to consider how an express bus lane could be added, a move which would almost certainly require another traffic lane through the Glen o’the Downs.

The Glen, a special area of conservation, was the scene of a three-year protest by eco-protesters between 1997 and 2000, before the road was converted from a single to a dual carriageway.

Wicklow County councillor Derek Mitchell said public transport planners had failed the region, with just two morning peak trains from south of Greystones, and failure to open an express bus way along the N11. He said he had asked the consultants to see how a new express corridor might be provided.

Wicklow County Council has sent letters to households along the 22 kilometre route inviting them to participate in public consultation.

The letter adds “there are several potential options at this time and the final selection of the emerging preferred option will not be determined until early 2020.”

The design office declined to comment on the detail of options in advance of Tuesday’s opening of public consultation. Wicklow County Councillors were told they would be briefed one hour before the opening of public consultation in the Glenview Hotel, from 12pm-8pm.