Drogheda residents want suspension and eventual removal of “unfair” M1 tolls to get into the town – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Drogheda residents want suspension and eventual removal of “unfair” M1 tolls to get into the town

Drogheda, Co. Campaigners in Louth are calling on the Government to intervene and suspend tolls for motorists after temporarily closing a busy route linking the city’s north and south sides, reports RTE.

The historic Obelisk Bridge allows motorists to cross the River Boyne without entering the city centre or using the motorway.

The 154-year-old bridge was closed to vehicular traffic from August 21 to allow necessary construction work to be carried out.

It is expected to be closed for ten months.

During this time drivers will be diverted into the Drogheda town centre which is already congested.

Campaigners say the situation is costing them time and money as they now either have to drive through heavy traffic in the city or pay the Donner Road toll to enter the M1 motorway to avoid delays, reports RTE.

Frank Godfrey is one of the proponents of suspending tolls during the Obelisk Bridge work.

He called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to visit Drogheda to “sort this issue out”, reports RTE.

One of the largest secondary schools in the country is located in South Drogheda. Daily attendance at St Oliver’s Community College is 1,550 students and 200 staff.

Principal John Halpin estimates that around a third of staff use Obelisk Bridge, with many pupils also coming to school from towns and villages in South Drogheda and East Meath.

“They’re getting up earlier, is what’s happening. And we’re grateful that they are still arriving pretty much on time most days. It’s adding a significant amount of time, up to 45 minutes for some people, just by not having that short cut,” he said, reports RTE.

Based on TII data, Mr Nash said the tolls on Donner Road generated around €4m last year and estimated that removing them during the Obelisk Bridge works would cost around €3m.

“It’s time the minister made a political decision and an intervention to allow Drogheda to breathe again, to work with TII to provide them with the resources they would require to remove the toll for a period of time. There is a precedent here, last year the minister decided to make an intervention to delay the planned increase in tolling, and I’m calling on him to do the same to allow Drogheda to breathe again,” reports RTE.

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