By Finn Mahon
A local Meath Councillor has suggested HGVs should be given toll free fairs on the M1 due to the recent traffic congestion in the East Meath region.
Citizens from Drogheda and East Meath are negatively affected as HGV drivers pass through regional roads to dodge the tolls with prices set to increase on the M1.
Cllr. Elaine McGinty said that an urgent plan of action for this expected occurrence is needed at a meeting earlier this March. She asked that the council engage with the Government before the upsurge takes effect.
“In 2013, a study was undertaken by the Department of Transport to see what the impact would be of a toll free passage for HGVs on the M1”, she said.
“HGV traffic was subject to the normal tolls in October and December of that year but in November, HGVs could use the M1, toll-free. The results were staggering. During the month where HGVs were exempt from toll charges, there was a 20 per cent reduction in HGV traffic on the R132 through Julianstown.
Cllr McGinty learnt from Meath Co Council that its transport department has appointed Systra Ltd consulting engineers to carry out a review of traffic movements on the R132. This is all in accordance to organise a Strategic Assessment Report for the recommended Julianstown Traffic Relief Scheme.
A draft copy had been received and issued to the Department of Transport for review in advance of providing a formal appeal to the next phase of the scheme. An allocation of €75,000 euro has been provided by this department to Meath Co Council for this ongoing year with the aim of progressing the scheme.
“Removal of the toll for HGVs on the M1 is one solution that would immediately help to tackle chronic traffic congestion in the area and improve air quality,” McGinty said.
“We urgently need government investment in road and public transport solutions for East Meath and Drogheda.”