Ongoing Athlone relief road noise pollution levels remain major concern for residents along route

Athlone-Moate Municipal District elected representatives will issue correspondence to the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Deputy Jack Chambers, to ascertain which Government Department holds funding responsibility to ensure the reduction of noise levels on the Athlone relief road.

This ongoing concern was raised by Cllr Frankie Keena during the most recent sitting of the Municipal District, his motion noting that increasing traffic noise levels are now becoming “unbearable” to residents living in close proximity to the route.

Addressing his fellow elected representatives Cllr Keena provided context to the motion raised in the civic chamber.

“We, as councillors and executive members, are all very much aware of Westmeath County Council’s Noise Action Plan (NAP ) 2018-2023 for its functional area which was subsequently superseded by the European Communities (Environmental Noise ) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 549 of 2018 ).

“The NAP has identified the N6 Athlone relief road dual carriageway, between Junction 8 Creggan to the county boundary with Roscommon, as a potential ‘hot-spot’. A ‘hot-spot’ is a location that may be subject to undesirably high levels of environmental noise and requires priority action. This section of relief road is approximately 7.5km in length and passes a mix of residential, industrial, commercial, educational and healthcare areas.

“The unacceptable noise levels being continuously experienced by residents living in close proximity to the Athlone relief road has been raised numerous times previously within this chamber,” Cllr Keena said.

The councillor noted that it had been a year since a Westmeath County Council commissioned report detailing the impact of traffic noise levels on residents living within close proximity of Athlone relief road was published.

“It is now a year since Westmeath County Council’s commissioned report covering the Traffic Noise Monitoring, Prediction Modelling and Impact Assessment at residential properties in proximity to the N6 Athlone relief road was published. Significant high levels of noise pollution were identified in this report with a preferable recommendation to erect absorptive noise barriers been suggested amongst others.

“So, I ask the question what progress has taken place since to implement these recommendations and to assist residents? The only answer is no progress. This is shameful and not acceptable. There is no need in commissioning a report and then leaving it on the shelf to gather dust.

“I have been told from an informed source that it is difficult to identify whose responsibility it is to implement these recommendations. The issue is being passed from one Government Department to another.

“Therefore, at this stage I am requesting that this Municipal District makes relevant Government correspondence to seek clarity once and for all as to who is responsible to fund the erecting of these much needed noise barriers and to further request that appropriate funding is made available for such works.

“This long term continuous noise monitoring survey was conducted from January 17-26 2023 to establish the existing noise climate at seven selected residential properties in proximity to the N6 Athlone Relief Road. The time for procrastinating is over. There must be immediate progress on this issue,” Cllr Keena concluded.

 

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