Large numbers of people have been attending a special consultation event in Tubberclair near Athlone this afternoon to view the preferred option for the realignment of the N55 between Ballymahon and Athlone.
The event is the first time the public have been able to find out exactly how much their lives might be affected by the proposed route, with local councillors having been given a briefing on the issue earlier today.
The route that has been chosen is a combination of the yellow and magenta routes which were made public earlier last year as possible options.
It will involve by-passing the villages of Tang, Tubberclair, Glassan and Ballykeeran, and it runs along small parts of the existing route just outside Ballymahon, as well as at Tang, The Pidgeon’s, and from Ballykeeran into Athlone .
Liam Keegan’s family farm at Tubberclair will be impacted by the new route, but he won’t know exactly how much until later in the process when work takes place on the preliminary designs.
Eddie Kelly from Rathmore just outside Ballymahon is one of the happier people after looking at the maps today.
Meanwhile this local resident from Portaneena won’t be unduly affected by the new route but he feels for those who are.
He says while he believes villages like Glasson do need to be by-passed, it’s hoped the local authority will be able to help people whose homes will be badly affected.
This whole project between Ballymahon and Athlone is likely to cost in the region of €50 million euro.
The process also has to yet go to preliminary design stage, an environmental study has to be carried out, and it will have to get the go ahead from An Bord Pleanala.
Even if the process runs smoothly its expected to take at least 8 years for any actual work to begin, and whether funding will be ring fenced and safe guarded for it in the aftermath of Brexit is anyones guess at this stage, but no doubt some people impacted by this preferred option are hoping it might never happen.