N11/M11 upgrade options include widening Glen o’ the Downs road
Two eastern options intersect on Delgany Golf Club, another goes west of the glen
Three of the four options involve the building of new dual carriageways, the fourth is to widen the existing dual carriageway, including a 2km stretch through the Glen of the Downs special conservation area. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Plans to ease traffic congestion along a 22km section of the N11/M11 in south Dublin and north Wicklow include two options which bisect Delgany Golf Course, and one widening the existing route through the Glen o’ the Downs nature reserve.
A fourth option would involve an 8km western bypass of the Glen, on high ground between the Glen and the main Dublin to Roundwood Road, before passing west of Kilpedder and rejoining the existing N11.
The route options went on public display in the Glenview Hotel in Co Wicklow on Tuesday afternoon.
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.
Twenty years ago the 2km road through the Glen was the scene of a three-year “Save the Trees” campaign which saw many young people occupy the Glen before it was widened from a single carriageway to a dual carriageway.
Two other options revealed by Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s regional design office bypass the Glen to the east. These two options intersect at a point roughly in the middle of the Delgany Golf Club.
The full 22km scheme also includes three options to improve the motorway between the Bray South junction and the village of Kilmacanogue. The first option is a 2.7km dual carriageway to the west passing through mostly open land near the Rocky Valley. The second option is the existing N11 route and the third is a 5.3km route east of Kilmacanogue on ground rising towards the Little Sugarloaf.
The scheme also includes a number of junction closures but these were not revealed to locals who queued to inspect large-scale maps at the public display on Tuesday afternoon.
While many of the options provoked the ire of those present, some of whom had homes in the path of the routes, others said traffic congestion in the area meant some action must be taken.
Local councillor Jennifer Whitmore, of the Social Democrats, said the success or otherwise of the scheme would be predicated on whether or not a public transport element was included, such as a tram or an express bus corridor.
Island between carriageways
Mark Driver, who lives with his family in Kilmacanogue, said whatever happened with the N11/M11 improvement scheme, a further access road to be built in his village meant he would “have three lanes of traffic doing up to 100km/h coming behind me when I walk children to school”.
If the western option for the new dual carriageway was selected as part of the N11 scheme, he said he would be living on an island between two dual carriageways.
Dermot McCarthy, a member of Delgany Golf Club, said he and his friends were in shock at the plans. Asked if he believed the club would have a strong opinion on the options which crossed the club, he said; “I don’t doubt it.”
Paul Woods, whose ostrich farm was once a notable sight at the edge of the N11 next to the special area of conservation, was concerned improvements to the existing road would mean he would lose his roadside paddock.
Leonard Doyle and his wife Patricia said if the western route was taken there was a danger they would lose their home on Tooman Road near the Willow Grove.
Christopher Bradish, the public liaison officer for the scheme, said the road was a difficult one to improve. He stressed the route options were just options and while a corridor was indicated along the existing road through the Glen o’ the Downs, it did not mean that it was going to be built.
He said the project was a difficult one because of the presence of the Glen o’ the Downs, the mountains and the coastal villages. But he said avoiding community severance was a key priority.